While you might not be thinking about making a will in the next few years, having one is of the utmost importance to ensure that the last affairs of your estate are dealt with in the event of your passing. If a will is not provided by the deceased, then your assets are distributed among the remaining living relatives as is the law in Florida.
In the state of Florida, there are certain prerequisites that must exist before you make a will. First, you must be of the legal age of 18 years old. Second, you must be considered “of sound mind,” which means you are fully aware of what you are doing and are fully aware of the extent of your assets in question. State law also requires that your will be a printed document and that it be properly signed and witnessed.
- Distribution of Wealth and Property. When you’re working on a will it’s advised that you take a careful amount of time in choosing your beneficiaries. Your assets can be distributed to people, institutions, and charities.
- Representation. In the event of your passing, a representative, or as they are sometimes referred to, executor, will be responsible for the distribution of your assets. It’s advisable to pick more than one just in case your first choice cannot fulfill this duty. The prerequisites for being a representative are (1) Be a resident of the state of Florida (2) or be related by blood, (3) and Your representative must not be a convicted felon.
- Appointment of Parental Guardian. If you have any offspring under the legal age of 18, it’s advisable that you make custodial arrangement in the event of your passing. It’s best that you choose a relative who has the financial means to take on this responsibility.
- Setting Up a Trust. If you don’t want your relatives to have all your estate at once, you can set up a trust. This will distribute the money over time and ensure that the assets of your estate last for a longer period. In order to leave assets to a trust in your will, the trust must be created before or at the same time as creation of the will.
Before any will can be declared “living” and official, the document must be finalized. This is a process in which, according to Florida law, two witnesses who are deemed competent, sign your will with you to make it official. While it’s best to have witnesses who have no ties to any financial gain, beneficiaries can be witnesses. It’s also advisable that you meet with an attorney beforehand to ensure that everything is done within the letter of the law.
Visit The Law Office of Kenneth J. Nota in Sarasota
While making a will isn’t difficult, cutting through the red tape and making sure that everything is on the level is necessary. This is where an attorney can assist you. If you’re in the process of making a will and are in need of legal counsel, the Law Office of Kenneth J. Nota is happy to help. We have the experience that situations such as these call for, and will lend that same experience to you.
Visit our website to learn more about our practices areas, such as estate planning, and for consultation and questions. We are located at 1990 Main Street in Sarasota, Florida, 34236. You can also call us at (941) 309-5270.
It’s not just any future, it’s yours. And we’re not just any law office.