Wills Putting Your Legacy on Cruise Control

Fort Myers Wills Attorneys

Ensuring Family Security in Florida

Most people don’t think about estate planning, especially when they’re younger, in good health, or don’t have a spouse or children. However, anyone can benefit from having an essential will to protect their family and friends’ interests in their estate when they pass on.

If you think it’s time to create a new will or adjust an existing one, Dorcey Law Firm can help. Our wills attorneys in Fort Myers know that most people want a say in who gets what, how much of their estate, and, at the very least, who they want to pass on specific items of personal sentiment.

Call Dorecy Law Firm today at (239) 309-2870 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with our wills attorney in Fort Myers!

What Are the Benefits of Having a Will?

  • Direct Distribution of Estate: A will empowers you to specify how your estate will be divided among your loved ones, ensuring your wishes are fulfilled.
  • Simplified Probate Process: By having a will in place, you can streamline and expedite the probate process, making it easier for your beneficiaries to access their inheritance.
  • Protection of Loved Ones' Interests: Crafting a will helps safeguard the interests of those you care about most, providing clarity and guidance during a challenging time.
  • Designate Guardianship: A will allows you to designate guardians for your minor children, ensuring they are cared for by individuals you trust in the event of your passing.
  • Minimize Family Disputes: With a clear will in place, you can help prevent potential conflicts and disputes among family members by clearly outlining your intentions for asset distribution.
  • Tax Planning: A well-crafted will can also incorporate tax planning strategies to minimize the tax burden on your estate, preserving more assets for your beneficiaries.

When Should You Create a Will in Florida?

Creating a will is crucial for anyone of sound mind and legal age. It becomes particularly essential under the following circumstances:

  • Ownership of Property: If you possess property that you wish to be distributed according to your preferences after your passing.
  • Marital Status: Being married adds complexity to estate distribution, making a will necessary to protect your spouse's interests.
  • Parenthood: Having children necessitates a will to designate guardianship and manage the distribution of assets for their care and well-being.
  • Substantial Assets: If you possess significant assets, a will allows you to outline their distribution precisely, minimizing potential disputes and ensuring your wishes are upheld.

Drafting a will becomes even more critical for individuals with extensive family ties. Doing so can preemptively mitigate conflicts among relatives after your passing.

It's important to note that drafting a will should not be undertaken alone. Partnering with an experienced Fort Myers attorney ensures that all aspects of your estate planning are comprehensive and legally sound, providing peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

What Happens if You Die Without a Will in Florida?

Failing to create a will eliminates your ability to direct the distribution of your estate. Instead, your assets will be divided according to Florida's intestacy laws. This may result in your extended family and friends being excluded from inheriting any part of your estate.

Furthermore, the probate process can become protracted and expensive without a will to provide clear instructions. Relying on the state's default laws for estate division can exacerbate these challenges, potentially leading to delays and higher costs for your loved ones.

Is a Handwritten Will Legal in Florida?

Yes, handwritten wills are legal in the state of Florida. They must, however, be properly signed and witnessed to be valid.

For a will to be “witnessed,” it must have been signed in the presence of at least two witnesses. Note that these witnesses must also sign the will in the presence of the testator (the person making the will). But even then, complications can arise, such as a judge's inability to decipher the testator’s handwriting. Concerns over forgery may also get in the way.

Since enforcing a handwritten will can be complicated, it is best to work with a legal professional when drafting and filing a will in Florida. You can rest easy knowing your will is valid and aligned with your wishes.

Keep in mind that the above only applies in the Sunshine State. Handwritten or holographic wills are considered valid in many other parts of the country.

Your Will Can Cover More Than Just the Things You Own

Beyond determining what happens to the material possessions you own in life, your will can serve a very practical purpose for the most precious loved ones we may have in our lives:

  • Our children
  • And our pets

Establish Guardianship of Your Children

Guardianship over children can be determined in your will. If you want to trust a sibling, parent, or another relative to raise your minor children when you pass on, you can outline your wishes for your children’s guardianship until they reach 18.

You may also establish a separate trust for them that the guardian can look after and manage until your children become adults. When working with a wills attorney on your plan in Fort Myers, be sure to ask more about how you can protect your children’s interests.

Establish Ownership Rights of Your Pets

Pets are legally considered property, but people nonetheless account for them as irreplaceable members of their families and love them as such. When building your will, you can have your attorney include ownership rights to a trusted loved one who you know will care for your pet.

Determining new ownership of your pet can be especially important if it is a long-living species like a parrot or tortoise whose lifespans can be on par with or exceed that of a human. In some cases, a trust can even be established to help the pet’s new owner pay for its care and well-being.

Contact Our Fort Myers Wills Lawyers Today

For expert assistance in preparing your will, contact the attorneys at Dorcey Law Firm. We extend a complimentary consultation to all potential clients, accommodating appointments during regular business hours or after-hours by appointment only. Whether you prefer consultations over the phone, in person, or via video conference, we're here to accommodate your needs. Additionally, our services are available in Spanish for your convenience. Schedule your consultation today to ensure your estate planning needs are met with precision and care.

Contact Dorecy Law Firm today to meet with our wills lawyer in Fort Myers!

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