Orlando, FL Wills Attorney

Safeguard Your Legacy with Wills in Orlando, Florida

Making a will is a way to make sure your wishes are followed after you’re gone. It covers who inherits your belongings, cares for your young children, and manages your estate. There are rules you need to know about how to make a will and what happens afterward. That’s where an Orlando FL wills attorney comes in.

A well-crafted will is your chance to ensure your loved ones are taken care of after you’re gone, according to your wishes. It allows you to decide who inherits your belongings, from your house and car to your favorite family heirlooms.

Quick Summary:

  • Creating a will in Florida allows you to choose beneficiaries for your possessions, designate a guardian for your minor children, appoint someone to manage assets left to your children, and name an executor to oversee the execution of your will.
  • Without a will in Florida, property is distributed based on state intestacy laws, prioritizing closest family members such as spouses, children, grandchildren, and parents.
  • Different types of wills in Florida include Simple Wills, Pour-Over Wills, Mirror Image Wills, and Testamentary Trusts, each serving specific purposes in estate planning.
  • Requirements for making a will in Florida include being of legal age and sound mind and following specific rules regarding format and witnessing.
  • Steps to create a will in Florida involve identifying assets, choosing beneficiaries, selecting an executor and guardian, drafting the will, signing with witnesses, and safely storing it.
  • Wills in Florida can be changed or revoked at any time, with major changes requiring revocation and creation of a new will, while minor changes can be made through a codicil.

What is a Will?

A will, in legal terms, is a written document that outlines your wishes for how your property and assets should be distributed after you die. It’s essentially your chance to decide who gets what, ensuring your belongings end up in the hands you choose.

Why Should I Make a Florida Will?

Having a will, sometimes referred to as a “last will and testament,” gives you control over what happens to your loved ones and your belongings after you’re gone. It lets you:

  • Choose who inherits your possessions – This could be anything from your house and car to your favorite family treasures.
  • Pick someone to care for your young children – This person called a guardian, would be responsible for your children’s well-being until they reach adulthood.
  • Appoint someone to manage assets left to your children – This protects your children’s inheritance until they’re ready.
  • Designate an executor – This trusted person, also known as a personal representative, oversees the entire process of carrying out your wishes as outlined in your will.

What Do Wills Cover?

A will lets you be the boss of what happens to your stuff after you’re gone. This “stuff” can be anything you own, from your house and savings account to your favorite family heirloom or a business you built.  The will lets you decide who gets what, and you can even specify when they inherit it.

What Happens If I Don’t Have a Will?

In Florida, if you pass away without a will, your property will be divided based on state “intestacy” laws. These laws prioritize your closest family members, starting with your spouse and children. If you have neither a spouse nor children, your grandchildren or parents will inherit your property. 

The distribution continues down the family tree, including siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even your spouse’s relatives. If the court finds no living relatives through this process, the state will claim your property.

What Are The Different Types Of Wills For Florida Estate Planning?

Different types of wills serve distinct purposes in Florida:

  • Simple Will (Last Will and Testament):  This is a basic will that lets you name someone to handle your assets (executor) and who gets what (beneficiaries). You can also name a guardian for your young kids.
  • Pour-Over Will: Considered as a complement to a trust, this will channel any probate assets into the testator’s trust after they pass away. It makes sure anything left out of the trust gets added to it after you die. So, all your assets end up following the trust’s instructions.
  • Mirror Image Will: Usually put together by married or unmarried partners, this involves creating two separate wills with almost the same terms. The only thing that varies is how each person is identified, so that everyone’s wishes are properly represented.
  • Testamentary Trust: This trust is set up through a complex will and only becomes active after the testator passes away and the probate court approves the will. It is funded with trust assets and is not as common as other types of wills.

What Are the Requirements for Making a Will in Florida?

Anyone in Florida who wants to make a will needs to meet a few key requirements:

  • Be 18 or older (or an emancipated minor). This means you’re legally an adult or a minor who has been granted adult rights.
  • Be of sound mind. This means you understand what you’re doing and can make sound decisions.

Florida also has some specific rules about the format of your will:

  • Holographic wills, handwritten by the testator, are not recognized as valid in Florida.
  • Forget about saying your wishes out loud. In Florida, spoken wills (called nuncupative wills) aren’t valid.
  • Handwritten wills are a no-go unless they’re witnessed. While you can write your will yourself, it needs to be witnessed by others to be legal.
  • Pen and paper aren’t your only options anymore. Florida allows wills to be created digitally now, too.

What are the Steps to Create a Will in Florida?

Getting your Florida will in order involves a few steps:

  1. Figure out what you own: List everything you want to include in your will, from your house and car to your prized possessions.
  2. Pick your beneficiaries: Decide who will receive your belongings. This could be family, friends, or even charities.
  3. Choose your executor: This trusted person will handle the legalities of distributing your estate according to your wishes.
  4. Select a guardian (if you have minor children): Designate someone to care for your children if you’re no longer around.
  5. Appoint a manager for your children’s inheritance (if applicable): If you have minor children receiving assets, choose someone to manage those assets until they reach adulthood.
  6. Draft your will: You can write it yourself or use a lawyer.
  7. Sign it with witnesses: Florida law requires your will to be signed in front of witnesses for it to be valid.
  8. Keep it safe: Store your will in a secure location that your executor can easily access.

Can I Change or Revoke My Florida Will?

In Florida, altering or revoking your will is a straightforward process. You can revoke your will by:

  • Burning, tearing, canceling, defacing, obliterating, or physically destroying it to revoke it.
  • Directing someone else to perform any of the aforementioned actions in your presence.
  • Creating a new will or codicil that explicitly revokes the previous one or includes conflicting terms (Fla. Stat. §§ 732.505 and 506 (2023)).

To change your will, it is best to revoke it and create a new one. For minor changes, you can add a codicil (an amendment) to your existing will, following the same formalities. In Florida, a divorce automatically revokes any provisions benefiting your ex-spouse, unless stated otherwise in your will or divorce decree (Fla. Stat. § 732.507 (2023)).

Why Do I Need an Orlando, FL Wills Attorney?

While a will is a great way to make sure your wishes are followed,  an Orlando, FL wills attorney can offer several benefits, especially if your situation is a bit tricky:

  • Making it Legal: Florida has specific rules for wills to be valid. An attorney can help you write your will the right way so there are no problems later on in court.
  • Saving on Taxes: An attorney can help you figure out ways to minimize the amount of taxes your loved ones have to pay on what you leave them.
  • Avoiding Court: An Orlando, FL Wills Attorney can help you explore options like trusts to possibly avoid probate altogether.
  • Life Changes: Things in life can change quickly. An attorney can help you create a will that’s easy to update if your family situation or finances change.
  • Peace of Mind: Trust a qualified Orlando, FL Wills Attorney to draft your will, ensuring your wishes are carried out smoothly and your loved ones are cared for.

Call our Orlando, FL Wills Attorney Now!

Ensure your loved ones are cared for with a will in Orlando, Florida. Tejes Law, PLLC is here to help.  Our Orlando, FL Wills Attorney understands the intricacies of Florida law and can guide you through creating a will that reflects your unique needs and goals.

But Tejes Law, PLLC offers more than just wills.  Our practice areas encompass various legal issues you and your family may face, including Elder Law and Bankruptcy.  So, whether you’re planning for the future or facing financial difficulties, Tejes Law, PLLC has the right people to assist you.

Don’t wait to get started on securing your legacy.  Contact Tejes Law, PLLC today for a free consultation.  Our Orlando wills law firm will answer your questions and help you create a will that protects your loved ones and gives you peace of mind.

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