Why do I need a Last Will and Testament in St. Petersburg Florida?

 

A Last Will and Testament is important for the purposes of explaining where and how an individual would like their assets divided, debts resolved and end of life issues outlined.  Contact an experienced probate attorney to make sure a will contains the legally necessary language so that a person’s wishes can be honored at the time of their death.

The completion of a will can be an emotional undertaking, but the most important thing is how it will be executed.  If a will is not executed properly, it can divide families, leave debts unpaid, and interfere with the last wishes of the decedent.  A Florida will must be prepared properly, signed, witnessed and notarized.

Proper execution.

A properly executed Florida Last Will and Testament should contain a body, signing and attestation. All witnesses and the notary are in the same room for the signing, and the testator must observe the witnesses signing the document which has a notary section called the “self-proving affidavit” allowing the document to be admitted to Florida probate court without locating witnesses which may no longer be easy to access. If the will is not completed with proper formalities it may be disallowed by a probate judge.

Key provisions.

  • Identification of the testator
  • Identification of document as the last will and testament
  • Appointment of the executor
  • Distribution of personal property
  • Bequests – defined as special or general –  If a gift is unique and the testator does not intend to give the value of the gift in the event that the gift disappeared, then a specific bequest would be used.
  • Payment of estate expenses – After admission to probate, a notice will be published in the local paper and  sent to known creditors at which point they have 90 days to file a claim against the estate for payment if there are adequate assets.
  • Distribution of residuary estate – A will should always designate who is to receive the residuary of the estate whether that is “to my heirs in equal shares per stirpes” or “to my two children.

Types of Wills. 

Florida Pour over will is used when there is a revocable trust and instead of making the distributions to a single beneficiary or beneficiaries, the will generally make one distribution into the Trust.  This type of will requires all of the other key provisions mentioned but is unique in its function because it essentially transfers the duty to distribute the estate assets to the trustee of the trust rather than allowing the probate judge to do so via the last will under the charge of the personal representative.

Florida Medicaid will be used to create a supplemental trust fund in order to allow a spouse who is receiving Medicaid benefits for long-term medical care to continue eligibility after a spouse passes away.

Florida will that includes a testamentary trust is a last will and testament in Florida that adds a trust fund for children or other beneficiaries.  This type of Florida last will and testament creates a trust that becomes effective upon the death of the testator which is different from a Florida revocable living trust.

Holographic or written wills are not allowed in Florida but may be recognized if executed in another state that allows them.

Hire an attorney.

A Last Will and Testament is just one very important element of estate planning and should be done with the assistance of an experienced attorney at Baby Boomers’ Barrister Law Firm in St. Petersburg Florida.

 

Baby Boomers’ Barrister Estate Planning & Elder Law

100 2nd Avenue S.
Suite 206N
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Phone: (727) 565-4250

 

Sources:

https://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2018/731.201