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Tampa Will Lawyers

A comprehensive will is the cornerstone of any well-rounded estate plan. If you’re looking to draft a will or have questions about doing so, please don’t hesitate to contact our experienced Tampa estate planning lawyers today.

Estate Planning Lawyers | Here to Help You Draft Your Will

A will is a document that makes your wishes known in the event of your death. A will sets forth how you wish to have your property distributed, appoints a personal representative, and addresses issues regarding minors, among other things. It is important that your will is clear as to what your wishes are so that your affairs can be handled accordingly.

Upon the death of the maker, a will must be proven and administered through a process known as probate.

Laws governing wills can be complicated and may vary from state to state. The State of Florida has enacted laws that govern wills including, but not limited to, the validity and interpretation of wills, the qualifications of a personal representative, and probate procedure. Any will that does not meet the requirements of a will set forth by the State of Florida will not be recognized by the court.

It is important that you speak with an attorney prior to making a will. An attorney can assist you in analyzing your particular needs and that of your family. An attorney can also discuss with you the important decisions related to your will as well as the applicable law. Finally, your lawyer will then draft a will that clearly states your wishes.

What if I Die Without a Will?

If a person dies without a will, that person is said to have died intestate. Any property not disposed of by a will is referred to as the intestate estate and is distributed according to the Florida Intestate Succession laws.

A will allows a person to make certain decisions and to make those decisions known. This will ensure that property is distributed according to a person’s wishes and not according to the Intestate Succession laws of Florida.

What Makes a Will Valid and Enforceable in Florida?

In the State of Florida, a will must meet specific statutory requirements to be deemed valid and enforceable. These requirements are designed to ensure that the document truly reflects the testator’s (the person making the will) wishes and to prevent fraud. Below are the key criteria that must be met for a will to be recognized by Florida courts:

  • The testator must be at least 18 years old or an emancipated minor. Additionally, the testator must be of sound mind at the time of drafting the will. This means having the mental capacity to understand the extent of their assets, the act of making a will, and the decisions being made about the distribution of their estate.
  • A valid will in Florida must be written. This includes typewritten or computer-generated documents. Oral wills are not recognized, except under very specific circumstances, such as being created by active-duty military personnel.
  • The will must be signed by the testator, or at the testator’s direction and in their presence. This ensures that the will reflects the testator’s intentions.
  • Florida law requires the presence of at least two witnesses to the signing of the will. These witnesses must sign the will in the presence of the testator and each other, further verifying the authenticity of the document.
  • The creation and signing of the will must be a voluntary act by the testator. Any will signed under duress, coercion, or undue influence may be challenged and potentially deemed invalid.
  • The document must clearly indicate that it is intended to serve as the testator’s will. It should unequivocally express how the testator wants their assets distributed after death.
  • While notarization is not a requirement for a will to be valid in Florida, a will can be made “self-proving” through notarization. A self-proving will includes a notarized affidavit from the witnesses, speeding up the probate process by eliminating the need to call witnesses to testify about the will’s authenticity.

Contact Our Florida Estate Planning Lawyers Today

If you’re looking to draft or amend your will, please don’t hesitate to contact the knowledgeable estate planning lawyers here at Tampa Law Group. We stand ready to help you preserve your legacy for generations to come.

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