Estate planning is one of the most important things that you can do to protect your assets and to ensure that your wishes are carried out after you pass. Although the general concepts of estate planning are straightforward, a number of new tools have emerged that are more complex and that can be used together to achieve a wide variety of goals. At the Martin Law Firm, our Fort Myers and Cape Coral wills lawyers are ready to assist you with determining your goals and achieving them through a solid and reliable estate plan. There are certain rules and requirements that must be satisfied in order for a will to be valid and a variety of issues that one should consider before executing a will. Contact us today and let us help you tailor a will to your specific estate planning needs so that your loved ones can avoid litigation after you pass. We also have offices in Naples, Miami, and Tampa, from which we can assist people throughout Southwest Florida.Crafting a Legally Sufficient Will
Many people wonder why they should take the time and effort to prepare a will and to consult with an estate planning lawyer in the process. Florida law allows individuals to execute a will without the assistance of an attorney, but there are many complex issues, requirements, and rules of interpretation that may apply to your situation. Failing to take them into account may result in your will not being found valid or not reflecting your true intent regarding the dissemination of your assets.
Under Florida law, a will allows you to leave your assets to specific people or organizations, to appoint a guardian to care for any minor children who are alive at the time of your death, to appoint a trustee to oversee your property and the dissemination of your will, and to handle other issues. If you pass without a valid will, the property that you own will be distributed according to Florida’s intestacy statutes. This is a basic process that provides the entirety of your property to your closest of kin who are alive at the time of your death, beginning with your spouse and children. If you pass without a spouse or children, your property will go to your grandkids or your parents. If you wish for something different to happen, it is critical that you create even a basic will to avoid having your property pass through intestacy. Depending on the size of your estate, you may be able to set up your will to qualify for summary administration, which is a faster and often less costly method of completing Florida’s probate requirements. A wills attorney in Cape Coral or Fort Myers can advise you on whether this process may be available to you.Understanding Will Requirements in Florida
In order for a will to be valid, there are a few basic requirements according to Florida law. First, you must sign the document before two witnesses. Next, these witnesses must sign the will, indicating that they witnessed your signature occurring. You are not required to have the document notarized, but there is an option to create a “self-proving” will, which expedites the probate process after your death. To create a self-proving will, you must complete the aforementioned requirements in front of a notary and have the notary execute an affidavit summarizing the process and the individuals who witnessed and signed your will. Although it is not a requirement, it is usually a good idea to appoint a personal representative in the will who will be in charge of ensuring that your wishes are carried out successfully. If you do not appoint a personal representative in the will, the probate court will choose someone for you. Depending on the complexity or diversity of your assets, there may be a wide variety of state, federal, or even international laws that apply to the dissemination and taxation of your estate upon your death. A seasoned estate planning lawyer can assist you with navigating these hurdles and avoiding any contested matters down the line.Consult a Compassionate Wills Lawyer in Cape Coral, Fort Myers, or Beyond
Thinking about the future and how you want to disseminate your assets after you die can be an intimidating endeavor for each of us. At the Martin Law Firm, we approach each client with sensitivity and understanding, taking pride in serving ordinary people rather than large corporations. We have prepared estate plans on behalf of people in cities such as Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Naples, Tampa, Miami, and other areas of Southwest Florida. You should not leave the future of your assets to chance. We offer a free consultation to help you learn about the estate planning process and how we can provide you with helpful legal assistance. We are also proficient at assisting clients with preparing revocable living trusts and other estate planning instruments. Call our Fort Myers and Cape Coral wills attorneys now at (844) 465-4357 or contact us online to set up your consultation today.