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Frequently Asked Questions About Last Will And Testaments


A last will and testament, more commonly simply referred to as a will, is a legal document that expresses your wishes after you pass away. It tells the court and your loved ones what your final wishes are for your assets and other property. The directions within your will only become effective once you pass away and so, you must follow strict requirements in order for it to be considered valid. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about St. Petersburg will lawyer hears, and the answers to them.

Does the State Keep My Assets if I Pass Away Without a Will? 

If you are a Florida resident and you pass away without a will, the state will actually write one for you. For some, this will may align with their own wishes while for others, it may not. The law also does not allow for trust to avoid guardianship for disabled beneficiaries or children, so your assets may be divided among your spouse, children, and others. To make sure your estate is distributed in the manner you want, it is critical to draft a properly developed estate plan.

Do I Have to Notarize My Will? 

You are not required to notarize your will, but it can save a great deal of time and effort. If a notary notarizes a supporting document called a Self Proving Affidavit, the will can be accepted by the judge without additional proof. If you do not have this affidavit, a witness or other person must attend a court hearing to ‘prove up’ the will. Today, it is much more challenging to locate witnesses, so it is always a good idea to include the affidavit as part of your estate plan.

Do You Need to Leave Someone a Small Amount to Disinherit Them? 

It is a common misconception that you need to leave someone a small amount of money, such as one dollar, to disinherit them. In fact, doing so could be a great mistake. By including a certain person in your will, you are actively making them part of the process instead of excluding them. They now have an interest in your estate. Instead, speak to an attorney about how to appropriately disinherit someone.

Do I Need to Keep the Original? 

If your original will is available after you pass away, it must be submitted to the court. If the original cannot be found, the court will question whether you wanted to destroy it. Your family will have to go extraordinary lengths to get a copy of your will approved by the court. It is always recommended that you keep the original will in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box, and that you inform your loved ones of the location.

Our Wills Lawyer in St. Petersburg Can Answer Your Questions 

The above questions are just some of the most common our St. Petersburg wills lawyer hears. Our experienced attorneys at Legacy Protection Lawyers, LLP can answer all of your questions so you can move forward with confidence. Call us now at 727-471-5868 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.



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