With the onset of the Corona virus, we are having more and more people contact our firm saying “I need to get a Will.” When facing a health threat, whether personal or widespread like this virus, getting our affairs in order is important.
In order to get your Last Will and Testament (i.e. your “Will”) in place, there are a number of considerations. A simple way to think of setting up your Will is to consider the “why, what, who, when, and how” of the Will.
“Why” establish a Will? A Will is an important instrument that applies upon your death and allows you to make important decisions about your estate, your assets, and your loved ones–especially minor children. Without a Will, many of these important decisions will be determined by the laws of Florida—without your input! Simply stated, without a Will, the Florida legislature and the courts will decide matters that you should have decided before your death. The Will is your way to have your say in these important decisions.
“What” the Will does is multi-fold. The Will makes certain important designations, particularly certain “who” designations. The Will designates who will be your beneficiaries—i.e. the persons who will receive what you own at your death. The Will also designates who will be the Personal Representative (sometimes called the Executor) in charge of administering your estate. The Will also designates who will be the Guardian of your minor children. The Will may also designate who will be the Trustee in charge of overseeing assets for your children. Who do you want to receive your assets? Who do you want to be in charge of your estate? Who will raise your children? You should be the one to decide these things.
When it comes to your beneficiaries, the Will also addresses the “when” and the “how” of receiving your assets. For example, if you leave your assets to your children, do they receive them all at once or over time? Do they receive a lump sum or in increments? If not all at once, in what amounts and when do they receive the distributions from the estate? A well-drawn Will designates not only who gets what assets, but also when and how they receive those assets.
How is the best way to establish a Will? You are best served having an experienced estate planning attorney prepare and oversee the signing of your Will. While there are software programs and online services where you can get a Will form, they lack the advice and expertise of “getting it right.” What good does it do to have a Will if it fails because it was improperly signed and witnessed? What good is a Will if it leaves out certain vital and necessary provisions? When it comes to your Will, there is truth in the old saying “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right!”
At Lins Law Group, P.A. we have over 35 years of experience in handling estate matters. Contact us if you have any questions about establishing your Will.