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A Beginner’s Guide to Will and Testament Law

You may feel like you do not need a will at this point in your life.  Maybe you have not made one because you do not know what it is or how to have one created.  It is important to understand that you need a will if you are at least 20 years old because you do not want to leave your loved ones with a mess to sort through if something happens to you.

What Exactly is a Will?

A will is a legal document that tells the court exactly how you want certain things handled such as:

  • Naming the executor (a person or institution appointed to carry out instructions) of the will.
  • Naming the guardians of any children.
  • Assigning rights to assets.
  • Define instructions for paying debts.

If a will is not made, families can often have a difficult time handling the affairs of a deceased loved one.

What If You Do Not Have a Will?

In the state of Florida, if a will is not in place when someone dies, intestacy laws are used to determine who receives control of assets.  This is to say that the closest living relatives may get the assets.  In some cases, probate papers are filed.  Probate papers are usually filed by people who were supported by the assets of the deceased.  If these people can prove that they depend on any homes, personal property, or statutory allowance, they can ask the court for control of the assets.

How Do You Create a Will? 

In Florida, you can create a will without a lawyer.  However, if you think your wishes may be contested or you have specific instructions for how you want your assets and debt to be dispersed, you may want the services of an attorney.  For a will to be finalized in Florida, it has to be signed in front of two witnesses and the witnesses must sign the document.  Legally speaking, it does not have to be signed by a notary.  It is worth mentioning that Florida laws allow you to make a will “self-proving“.  A self-proving will must be signed by a notary.  The advantage to this type of execution is that the court does not have to contact the witnesses that signed the will before executing the wishes within it.

The creation of a will is extremely important.  If you have assets, children, or liabilities, you should leave instructions regarding their handling.  Situations that can occur after death can be difficult to anticipate.  Enlisting the guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney in Florida can solidify your plans and relieve the anxiety that accompanies this complex topic.  Consider Elias Dsouza of Dsouza and Strachan Lawgroup of Plantation, Florida to help you through this process.

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