Putting together a will is a smart decision. This testamentary document guides the legal processes that follow someone’s death. New parents, first-time homeowners and those preparing for retirement all have particularly compelling reasons to create an estate plan.
They may want to name a guardian for their child or beneficiary to inherit their home. They may also want to protect their loved ones from stress and confusion when their health changes or after their passing.
With that being said, adults of any age who are navigating any kind of economic or familial circumstance can benefit from creating certain estate planning documents. When these documents are created, people will have to ensure that their estate planning paperwork complies with state laws. For example, there are specific requirements that must be met for a will to be considered valid in Florida.
The testator must meet specific standards
With rare exceptions, those who want to create a will generally need to be at least 18 years of age. They also need to have the legal testamentary capacity to create documents. Those with certain debilitating medical conditions may not meet that standard.
Those who attempt to draft documents when they have a medical diagnosis or signs of diminished capacity may set up their loved ones for a complicated probate process that involves litigation. People can challenge a will in probate court if they have reason to question someone’s testamentary capacity at the time that they drafted the document.
The documents must meet certain standards
In most scenarios, a Florida will needs to be a written document. Both handwritten and typed documents can have full legal authority provided that the testator signs the document and that there are two adult witnesses capable of attesting to its validity. It may also need to be notarized.
All too often, people mistakenly believe that they can print off some will they found on the internet, fill it out with their personal information and then rely on that to control what happens to their property when they die. Those unwitnessed, boilerplate documents may not offer the protection that people expect. Their loved ones may not respect such wills, and the Florida probate courts may not uphold them.
Drafting bespoke wills specifically compliant with Florida state law can offer people the most protection for themselves and their loved ones when they put together an estate plan.