St. Petersburg Wills Attorney
A will is a very important part of any estate plan. If you pass away and you do not have a will in Florida, state law will control how your assets are distributed. Through a properly executed will, you can choose who will receive property from your estate after you pass away, choose a guardian for your children, and outline who is responsible for carrying out your instructions. Below, our St. Petersburg wills attorney explains more about these important documents.
What is a Will?
Wills are legal documents that state how you want your property distributed after you pass away. Your will can outline instructions for real estate, financial accounts, and your personal property. Any instructions you include in your will override the laws of the state.
Through a last will and testament, you can also choose a guardian for your children. A guardian can make sure your children are cared for in the event that you and their other parent pass away. The guardian provision is one of the main reasons younger couples choose to draft a will.
Wills must go through the probate process. Probate is a court procedure during which the estate is administered. Property is distributed to beneficiaries and creditors can also make claims against the estate during probate.
Requirements for Wills in Florida
There are many requirements that must be fulfilled in order for a will to be considered legal. These include:
- Testator signature: The person who creates a last will and testament is known as the testator. Testators must be 18 years of age or older and have the mental capacity to understand what they are creating. The signature must also be at the end of the will and if it appears earlier, the will may not be considered valid.
- In writing: Wills do not have to be typed. Handwritten wills in Florida are valid and legal. However, oral wills are not recognized or upheld in the state.
- Two witnesses: All wills in Florida require the signature of two witnesses. Witnesses should not be related to the testator or beneficiaries. The witnesses should also sign a self-approving affidavit, which eliminates the need for them to appear in probate court and testify about the authenticity of the will.
- Signed at the same time: All wills should be signed by the testator and any witnesses at the same time. Many people make the mistake of signing the will and then later taking it to the witnesses to sign. This could invalidate a will and make it void.
The above requirements are strictly enforced in Florida. If a will is found to be invalid, the estate will be distributed according to state law.
Our Wills Attorney in St. Petersburg Can Draft Your Document
One of the best ways to protect yourself and your family is to draft a will that fully explains your wishes. David Toback is a St. Petersburg wills attorney who can draft this important document for you and make sure it is executed properly. Call us now at 813-252-7529 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more.