Around 1 in 5 Floridians is aged 65 or older. The median age for Boca Raton alone is 45.9, and the percentage of people of advanced age mirrors Florida’s. More than half of all Americans do not have a will. If you need help with wills in Florida, we can help.
What is a Will?
A will is a legal document that states how someone would like their property distributed after they pass on. It is sometimes known as a testament. Part of the will involves naming an executor. An executor is in charge of managing the estate until all of the terms of the will have been carried out. In the will, guardianship of children and the ownership of pets is usually considered.
The writer of the will is occasionally called a testator. Those who inherit from the will are called beneficiaries. After someone has died, they are called the decedent. The legal process of settling a will is called probate.
Florida Will Requirements
There are certain necessities when someone creates a will. If the will does not meet all of the conditions, it is not considered legally valid. The following is a list of requirements for a will in the state of Florida:
- The writer of the will must be 18 years old or an emancipated minor
- The will must be in writing
- The testator needs to have signed the will, or a signature must be placed at the testator’s direction
- Two witnesses must sign the will, and they must sign in the presence of the writer of the will and each other
A will that is written outside of the presence of witnesses is called a holographic will. It is not considered legal in Florida. Additionally, Florida does not recognize wills that were made verbally.
A will is the only way to determine how someone’s assets are distributed after they pass on. While it is legal to live in Florida without a will, having a will is the only way someone can be sure that their property goes to the right beneficiaries. If someone dies without a will, the government decides how the property should be distributed.
When the will is adjudicated, the executor and the court has to interpret the document. Not only does one have to write a will, one must ensure that a will is written in a legal manner to have their estate divided as they wish. Legally, people are allowed to contest wills. This means that they can go to court to see if the will was valid. Disinheriting a spouse requires specific wording. Other areas, such as how much inheritance is received, are known to cause legal friction.
Contesting a Will
If the will was not written correctly, that allows for grounds to challenge it. Courts rarely declare a will invalid due to the lack of soundness of mind. Forgetfulness or not recognizing friends does not qualify as incapacity.
One of the most common reasons for contesting a will is undue influence. This is when someone who is trusted by the writer of the will abuses their relationship. Manipulating someone into doing something they would not otherwise do is grounds for a lawsuit.
The exact definition of undue influence is left to the court to decide. The line between offering an opinion and exerting unfair influence over someone has a substantial amount of case law defining it. This is why hundreds of Floridians have already trusted The Berman Law Group. Wills and trusts should not be ignored. They are very important. We can help you with your Wills in Florida.
It is vital to call a lawyer if you are preparing a will.
Call us today at 1-800-375-5555.