Steps to ensure a proper will

As Florida residents may know, having a current will in place is an important part of estate planning. However, some individuals may not realize that certain tasks must be completed to ensure that a will does not cause problems for beneficiaries in the future.

Wills do not necessarily include everything that you own. For individuals who have a property owned in joint tenancy where the survivor inherits the property after the other individual dies, the surviving co-owner receives the property. This is true even if the will leaves the property to a different beneficiary. The same can be said for accounts such as insurance policies where a beneficiary has been designated.

Another matter of concern when making out a will is who will get guardianship of any children if both parents should become deceased at the same time or if there is only one surviving parent. If this important part of a will is left out, the court makes the decision about who will take care of those minors. These decisions might not coincide with the desires of the testator.

Those wills that do not follow state law can end up being declared invalid and treated as an intestate estate. In the event this happens, usually a spouse inherits first, followed by children, parents, and so forth. If an individual's will expresses different wishes, those wishes might not be followed.

An individual wanting to prepare a will or make changes may wish to speak to an attorney about estate planning. An attorney may assist by drawing up a document that follows state laws and ensures that it includes all necessary provisions desired by the testator.

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