Estate planning is a complicated subject, so it is likely that many people in Bradenton and the surrounding areas have questions about how wills function under Florida law. At the law firm of Lyons, Beaudry & Harrison, P.A., our experienced attorneys help clients understand their options. We create estate plans that include wills specially crafted to address each client’s unique family, assets and goals. We have provided answers to some of the most common questions we receive about wills, but we urge you to meet with us to learn more.
A well-drafted will ensures your wishes are upheld and saves your family further heartbreak following your passing. For help understanding the role of a will in your estate plan or for help drafting a will suited to your needs, call Lyons, Beaudry & Harrison, P.A. today at 941-444-6407 or contact us online. _______________________________________________________________________
Florida law allows individuals to write their own will, which is valid as long as it is properly witnessed and notarized. While such wills may be valid, they are rarely effective. A knowledgeable Sarasota will attorney knows what questions to ask in order to fully understand your financial situation and your wishes. A professional can help you draft an effective and valid will as part of an estate plan that may include other tools such as trusts.
Everyone needs a will, no matter how few or many assets they have. A well-drafted will helps ensure that your property goes exactly where you want it to go once you are gone. Even if you have few assets, you will be making things easier for your family by creating written instructions that spell out your final wishes. Your will can also contain advance directives stating your preferred choices in serious medical situations as well as burial preferences. Even people with trusts and complex estate plans need a will to cover any assets that are not otherwise accounted for at the time of death.
Dying without a will (dying intestate) means that Florida law governs what happens to your property. A court will appoint someone to gather your assets and distribute them to relatives in an order decided by statute. If no relatives can be found, your property may pass to the state. The grieving process is often made even harder when a relative does not leave a will.
A living will is a type of advance directive, a document that instructs medical professionals how to proceed in certain serious medical situations if you become incapacitated. Other types of advance directives name a surrogate to make healthcare decisions on your behalf or state your preferences regarding organ donation. These documents all differ from a last will, a document that records your wishes for the distribution of your assets upon your death.
A living trust, also known as a revocable trust, is a tool that allows you to retain control over your property and assets while you are alive, and then have that property managed and distributed over time according to your wishes once you have died. Typically, bank accounts, real property and other assets are placed into this type of trust to simplify the probate process and give you maximum control. Trusts work in conjunction with a last will, which governs any property or assets that are not included in the trust.
When someone creates a will, they retain the power to change that will for as long as they live. There are two ways that an experienced estate planning attorney can help you make changes or updates. The first way is to draft an entirely new will. This is often the right choice if there have been major changes in your life, assets or wishes. Another option, called a codicil, is created in the same way as a will but only includes the instructions you wish to add or change.