Writing a DIY will may be quicker and easier than hiring an attorney to prepare it in a more professional approach. Additionally, it is less expensive, which incentivizes several individuals to skip expert guidance and do everything by themselves.
However, probate law is not a game, as any small mistake has the potential to completely derail someone’s plans and create an endless cycle of issues for the beneficiaries. In this article, you will find out the reasons for hiring a professional when preparing a will in Florida.
Disadvantages of DIY Wills in Florida – The Most Common Mistakes
In Florida probate, the personal representative is the individual or entity responsible for managing the decedent’s estate and protecting the interests of beneficiaries.
State law requires that a personal representative must be at least 18 years of age, not have been convicted of a felony, and have the mental and physical capacity to perform the required duties.
Also, the personal representative must be a Florida resident – unless the person is related to the deceased individual by blood, marriage, or adoption. When someone appoints an ineligible person as a personal representative, the court will appoint their own choice – which may not express the decedent’s wishes.
Taxes and Other Legal Issues
The probate process involves a set of complex factors, including the impact on estate taxation and whether the assets will reach their respective beneficiaries according to the decedent’s wishes.
Undoubtedly, relying on the guidance of an expert estate planning is crucial to avoid heft tax consequences during probates. There are several legal tools available for passing property after death while circumventing probate and mitigating tax liabilities.
Proper Language and Legal Terminology
Although writing a last will may sound like a simple task, it definitely is not. Considering the current scenario involving blended families, second marriages, children from distinct relationships, and similar issues, the language used in a last will and testament must be precise.
Using vague or imprecise language may end up creating family disputes and lawsuits. Also, it is important to pay attention to the legal terminology, which is essential to determine the legal compliance of the last will.
To illustrate a possible scenario, let us say an individual has a stepchild he raised from infancy and two natural children. When writing his last will, this individual considered all three children equally as their children.
However, after death, the two natural children received half of the estate and the stepchildren received nothing.
Why? Because the provisions in the last will clearly state that the decedent’s estate should be distributed “equally to my children” – demonstrating how using vague or imprecise language may end up in disaster.
Potential Gaps and Pitfalls
A last will and testament represent a core element in estate planning. However, it is not a complete tool by itself, as it may leave several questions unanswered. In this sense, there are several estate planning issues that the last will cannot address, such as:
- Appointing a trusted person to make medical decisions in case of incapacitation
- Authorizing a trusted person to manage your finances in case of incapacitation
- Appointing a trusted person to serve as the guardian of minor children if something happens to you before they reach adulthood
It is easy to find ready-to-file forms on the internet and prepare a last will using a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach. However, it is crucial to note that this choice has several risks involved.
Waste no Time with DIY Wills in Florida – Work with an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney
It is impossible to prevent the future, but you can prepare for it by protecting your legacy and ensuring your wishes will be satisfied upon death. Protect your loved ones today by calling Attorney Romy B. Jurado at (305) 921-0976 or emailing Romy@juradolawfirm.com to schedule a consultation.