A Will, or “Last Will and Testament,” is the legal document by which an individual (also known as the Testator) expresses his or her final wishes for the management of his or her estate. This includes the distribution of assets, guardianship for minor children, and burial instructions. Without a properly executed Will, a person is deemed to die "intestate," and his or her assets will be distributed pursuant the state’s intestacy statute.
If You Die Intestate
Practically speaking, in Florida, intestacy means that all of your assets will be distributed pursuant to the Florida statute, regardless of your intent. Additionally, under intestacy, your Personal Representative (also known as an Executor) will be appointed by a judge.
Intestacy becomes extremely problematic if you die and have a minor child, as that child’s guardian will also be determined by a judge. The Court will base its decision on the best interests of the child — a vague standard with potentially catastrophic results, including disputes among relatives.
Although a Will can adequately provide for the distribution of assets upon your death, it does not sufficiently provide for your necessary care in the event you become incapacitated. The other major drawback of a Will in comparison to a Revocable Trust is that it must proceed through the costly and public probate process. Once a Will is probated, it becomes a public record and can be viewed by any member of the public.
Morris Law Group for Your Estate Planning
Our team of highly experienced attorneys and paralegals at Morris Law Group strive to simplify the process of securing your estate’s future by helping you choose the right option for your needs. If you already have a Will, we can review it and work with you to ensure that it is legally sound and in the best interest of you and your family. If you need to create a Will or Trust, contact us today to set up a consultation.