Part of estate planning is having a will drafted that meets the needs of your family now and in the future. If you already have a will you should review it, especially if you have had changes in your life. Instead of preparing a new will, for small changes a codicil can provide an update. When executing a will or codicil please do so with an attorney as the failure to have wills or codicils properly executed can result in a court disregarding the document.
Requirement for a Will
In Florida there are formal requirements that must be met for the will to be valid. These requirements are set by statute and cannot be waived. Some requirements for a valid will, include:
- Over 18 years old
- Sound mind
- Written document
- Witnessed and notarized in a special manner provided by law for wills
- Proven valid in and allowed by a probate court
What can a will do for you?
A will is a statement of your wishes:
- You decide who gets your property instead of the law making the choice for you
- You name the personal representative for your will (provide the person can qualify)
- Can create a trust
- You can make gifts to charity
- Identify a guardian for minor children
Why do I need a will?
Without a will any property that you own is distributed according to Florida statute. The court may appoint a personal representative to manage your estate. The cost of probating the estate may be greater then if you have planned with a will and the administration of your estate may be subject to greater court supervision.
What else do I need?
You should also talk with your attorney about these documents:
- Living Will: This is a declaration specifying your individual desires regarding the use of life prolonging medical procedures.
- Power of Attorney: Prior to your death, a power of attorney, appoints another person to have power to control or distribute assets.
- Healthcare surrogate: Allows the designation to make health care decisions for you when you are unable.