Estate Planning Should Be Handled by Attorneys

If you own property, have investments, valuable items that you’d like to give to family, then you should have a will. If you don’t have a will but are thinking you can just get a will kit from an online resource and do it yourself, you may want to rethink this “plan.” 
If you’re familiar with Florida estate law, financial planning and have written wills and other legal documents regularly, you may be able to complete it yourself. But if you want your will to stand up to Florida laws, scrutiny by judges, or heirs who may question the legality of what you’ve presented, then you should hire an attorney.

Estate Planning Begins With An Attorney You’re Comfortable With

Hire an estate law attorney who regularly handles and is up to date with the laws governing wills. Interview several and ask them more than what it costs. Find out if they are familiar with recent tax laws that may effect what you’re leaving to family. Will there be extensive funeral plans that require you to set aside funds for an elaborate celebration?
If you’re talking about personal issues like this then you should be sure that you’re very comfortable with the attorney you select to handle your estate planning. 

Laws Change and Wills Need to Withstand Changes to Prevent Contests

Laws change and circumstances do as well which can make a will written through a kit bought online or in a store invalid or questionable which can put the entire estate into question.

A will is a legal document deciding who the estate beneficiaries will be and how and when they receive an inheritance. Any person who is 18 years of age or older and who is of sound mind may make a will. If you do not have a will, the state determines who, if anyone, is entitled to receive your estate after your death. This is the last thing that anyone with assets wants because it provides family with the least value and is more complex.

Florida lawyers know that you cannot leave your homestead to anyone other than your spouse or minor child if you have a spouse or minor child.  But a will kit may not explain this. If your will is sloppy, inexact, incorrect, the judge will question it and your heirs can contest it. 

The slight exception:  you can leave your homestead to your spouse, but only if you have no minor child.  

A “Will Kit” Can’t Tell You or Protect You From What You Don’t Know

Many will kits or forms  that some Floridians use to draft their own wills don’t explain or recognize the above exception.  You should not overlook the fact that Florida law requires nothing less than a fee simple devise to a spouse.  Anything less is invalid and means that the homestead passes intestate.

If these terms are unfamiliar or confusing an attorney who practices estate law can clarify this for you.

All states require two witnesses except Vermont. But it is strongly recommended you have three witnesses sign your Will in the event a witness dies or moves to another state.

Your spouse or children should not serve as witnesses.

In addition, your witnesses must be at least 18 years of age and should not be a beneficiary to your Will. A court could later disqualify this beneficiary from his or her inheritance, and your Will is more vulnerable to challenge.

Your executors are individuals that should reside in the same state. It could potentially prove very costly for your executor to travel back and forth to manage your estate.

Some states require that out-of-state executors post a cash bond, even if you have waived this requirement in your will.

Don’t leave your last memory to chance trying to budget out details in a will kit that may be incorrect and force your loved ones, who are already grieving, into court. Keep your details together, organized and clearly stated and then, take your plan and ideas to Winter Park, Florida, attorneys Eric Lanigan and Roddy Lanigan to decide what will work best for you.

The intricacies of your requests and wishes should be considered as well as how to provide tax shelters for those who are inheriting your assets. Financial background, and economic experience is important in choosing an estate planning attorney. Eric Lanigan has practiced law in Florida since 1976 and Roddy Lanigan since 2007. Call the Lanigans and make an appointment to find out what you should know when you decide to create or alter your will. Do what’s best for your heirs today so that they can enjoy and know that your wishes are planned for and clearly stated.