St. Petersburg Wills Lawyer
Help with Wills from Diligent and Responsive Tampa Bay Estate Planning Lawyers
The will is the foundational document of every estate plan; regardless of whatever other planning you do and instruments you create, the will remains central. The estate planning attorneys at Legacy Protection Lawyers can make sure you have a valid, enforceable will that will be given effect in Florida probate court, stand up to challenges, accomplish your goals, and work seamlessly with your overall, comprehensive estate plan. Our St. Petersburg wills lawyers help people throughout the Tampa Bay area draft or revise a will to meet their needs.
Why you need a will
You may have heard that a trust is an excellent vehicle for transferring property without having to go through probate. While this is true, trusts are also more complicated and more expensive to create than wills. Also, even if you are transferring as much of your property as possible through trusts, there are still important reasons to have a will. Consider these many important functions a will provides:
- Distribute your assets the way you want to by clearly expressing your intentions in your will
- Leave a legacy to future generations through personal messages and special gifts to special people and institutions in your life
- Name a guardian whom you know and trust to care for any minor children who may be left behind
- Create a testamentary trust in your will to leave money or property in the care of a trustee for minor children or grandchildren who are too young to handle a large sum of money or property
- Name a personal representative to serve as executor or administrator of your estate
- Draft a “pour over” provision to ensure any property not otherwise accounted for is placed in the proper trust you have created for asset distribution
What makes for a valid will in Florida
You may have seen advertisements for document preparation companies or even software you can use to make your own will at home. Be aware that wills are governed by state law, and each state has its own rules for what makes a will valid. Also, only lawyers can give legal advice regarding will drafting, and an inexpertly drafted will is much more likely to be challenged and contested in probate court. In Florida, the following laws apply to create a valid will:
- The testator (person making the will) must be at least 18 years old or an emancipated minor.
- The testator must be of sound mind, which generally means the testator understands he or she is making a will to dispose of property and understands the nature and extent of his or her estate.
- The will must be in writing. By writing, Florida law means the will should be typed up, not handwritten. In fact, a handwritten will is not acceptable in Florida probate court unless it meets certain other requirements. Oral wills are not valid in Florida.
- The will must be signed at the bottom by the testator or by another person in the presence of the testator and at the testator’s direction.
- Two witnesses must sign the will in the presence of each other and the testator. By signing, the witnesses attest that they witnessed the testator’s signing of the will or that the testator acknowledged to them that the will was signed by the testator or another person directed to sign by the testator.
Families change, tax laws change, and your financial situation changes over time, so it’s only natural your will should change too. Revisions to an existing will, or revoking a will and creating a new one, must also follow a set of rules in order to be valid and enforceable.
Get the Will You Want and Need by Calling Legacy Protection Lawyers in St. Petersburg
The best way to avoid challenges to your will is by drafting it right in the first place. With Legacy Protection Lawyers, you’ll get the help of experienced, knowledgeable and hardworking estate planning attorneys who take the time to sit down with you and understand your needs and wants, and who then put in the time and effort to get the work done right. To discuss your Florida will in the Tampa Bay area, call Legacy Protection Lawyers in St. Petersburg at 727-471-5868.