Do I need a will in Florida?

We answer this question every day and frequently our answer is that our client doesn’t need a will. Florida law has a default mechanism for how your assets will pass to your heirs in the event you don’t have a will. If you are satisfied with this mechanism and feel it meets your planning needs, then a will is not needed to accomplish your planning needs.

If I move to Florida from another state do I need a new will?

Not necessarily, but you need to talk to a Florida attorney regarding homestead to be sure. If your will was properly prepared by an attorney in the state where you previously resided, there’s a good chance it is still valid. There is no rule in Florida that states that an out of state will is not valid in Florida. To be safe, you should call one of our attorneys in Cape Coral, Fort Myers or Naples and we can review it and see if it will be valid in Florida. Most out of state wills do not contemplate the Florida concept of homestead and the limitations it places on a devise of your homestead to someone other than your spouse or minor children. 

What is a will?

A will is a testamentary document that proves your intentions of where you want your assets to go upon your death. A will gives direction to your personal representative in Florida who receives which of your assets. A will must be probated in the county where you reside at the time of your death.

Will a will avoid probate?

No. The probate process is what ensures that your wishes as documented in the will are actually carried out. Florida probate is a court proceeding which is supervised by a Circuit Judge to help ensure that your wishes are carried out.

What if I want to avoid probate?

There are a number of techniques to minimize your probate costs in Florida but each of these have consequences to them that must be weighed against the “benefit” of avoiding probate. Our attorneys in Cape Coral, Fort Myers and Naples will be able to give you legal advice as to which of these techniques will be appropriate for your current situation. Commonly people use a revocable living trust to avoid probate. Visit our page on revocable trusts for more information.