Some Floridians might wrongly believe that wills and estate plans are only required for people who are rich. However, all people, regardless of their income level, may benefit by having a will in place. Without a will, the person’s estate will have to go through the probate process in order for their assets to pass, and their assets may pass in a manner that the person would not have wanted.
Wills must include several things in order to be considered valid. First, the document must clearly state that it is the person’s will. It must also name a person who will be the executor of their estate and designate beneficiaries to whom assets will pass. People must be mentally able to write their wills at the time they do so, and the will must be witnessed and signed by two witnesses. Often, it is a good idea to have the document notarized and recorded.
The executor should be chosen carefully, as they will be required to do such things as pay the estate’s taxes, notify creditors and settle with them, pay any associated fees and distribute the assets to the named beneficiaries as outlined by the will. Beneficiaries must be named clearly with their contact information. It is a good idea for people to regularly review their wills and make updates as needed.
Without a will, a person who has a blended family may unintentionally pass all of their assets to their spouse and their spouse’s heirs, accidentally disinheriting children from previous relationships. People may want to seek help from an estate planning attorney when they want to write a will. An attorney might help their clients by ensuring the written wills are completed in a legally sound manner. They may then meet with their clients on an annual basis in order to make certain the will is still appropriate.
Source: USA.gov, “Writing a Will,” Accessed April 21, 2015