If You Have Kids, Get a Last Will and Testament in Florida
Imagine growing up in a happy home where your parent or parents provide you with everything you need. They have several businesses going, and money is not an issue. But, a few years down the line, things take a turn for the worse, you lose your parent, then it turns out that they did not have a will and out of the money left, piling expenses, unpaid taxes, and business debt, the once cared for kids don't look as happy as kids should look. Dire, isn't it?
You may argue that no one controls the tides we face in life. However, don't we all agree that most kids would be better off if parents created wills or even airtight trusts to protect the interests of the children as much as possible?
A free last will and testament in Florida goes a long way in protecting your interests and the well-being of children and other dependents. How? You determine how much money or assets your child inherits, even if you have a surviving spouse.
The other way of looking at it is by taking a look at homeless kids or the ones who are not cared for well enough after their parent (s) pass away - a will could prevent many such cases. Wills allow for appointment of a guardian for your minor kids so that they are okay when you are no longer around. And to top it all, you can use a will to institute an irrevocable testamentary trust for your children - the trust will go a long way in educating your kids.
You also realize that an individual accepts the guardianship role faster when they know that they won't have to pay for their education and living expenses, no?
Wondering why else you need a will and why your kids will need it more than you? Well, a complex will could be used to keep the assets accumulated in the family, and you can also use the will to create a trust for the accumulation and sheltering of assets. And with that will, you can institute some form of business succession planning which ensures that your business does not end after your death, whether it brings in dollars or millions.
What these possibilities show is that you shouldn't live your life without a will if you are ever getting kids or if you already have them.
Once you create a will, you can lead a peaceful life knowing at the back of your mind that your children (and other dependents) will be safe in your absence.
What then do you need to create a valid free last will and testament in Florida?
First, note that the will is a legal document that recognizes you as the testator, your child(ren) as heirs or beneficiaries, the person to take care of your minor children (the guardian), and the person who ensures that your wishes are respected, the executor.
You must be 18 years or older when creating your last will (you can change it later), and you should be of sound mind.
The state of Florida also requires you to sign the will. And, you should also have 2 competent adults to sign the will when you sign it. The witnesses may also serve as personal representatives.
The will must be in writing. You cannot create an oral will or a holographic will. The holographic will is a will that you prepare by hand, the handwriting should be proven to be yours. In states where it is applicable, once proved credible, you won't need witnesses when using the will.
It should be created according to the requirements of Code Section §732.501, et seq.
Keep in mind that the terms of the will should be presented at the probate court for validity and later for the supervision of asset distribution.
In Florida, you may have a self-proving will. The self-proving will is only valid after the witnesses, and the testator sign an affidavit and notarize the will. Notarization proves the identities of the participants, and it also affirms that the parties involved knew what they were getting into.
What happens in the absence of a will?
You and your estate are deemed intestate, and the state will invoke the intestacy laws for asset distribution. Under these laws, the absence of kids or parents results in the surviving spouse inheriting all your wealth, but if kids and parents are present, the state awards them a fair share though the proportions may not as you wished.
How to change the will
You may change the will at any time using a codicil; the legal amendment or addition whose execution must be similar formalities as the original will.
To change it, the state requires that you are of sound mind and not acting under duress, influence or fraud
You can revoke a will in writing or using the codicil or through the voluntary and intentional destruction of the will.
Lastly, know that you cannot distribute joint property or a homestead. And, you cannot disinherit your spouse without following proper legal channels.
To kick start the process, get our free Florida last will and testament forms online today.