A last will and testament is an essential document. Having a will ensures your property goes where you want it to go, and limits misunderstandings among family members and other loved ones.

Many people do not like to think about death, so they put off writing a will. However, when you die without a will, the law decides who gets your property, not you. A Coconut Grove wills lawyer can help you put your wishes into a legal document that will protect your family and ensure your wishes are carried out when you die. Our probate attorneys are here to assist you.

Formalizing a Person’s Wishes

Some people avoid making a will because they assume their family members will carry out their wishes. Unfortunately, it rarely works that way. Family members might have different ideas about what the deceased person wanted and each of them will believe they are right. Families can fracture even when the value of the property is low.

Making a will ensures that everyone knows how the testator—the legal term for the person who makes the will—wanted their property to be distributed. A will minimizes the opportunities for family members and other beneficiaries to fight about a testator’s intentions.

Having control over how property is distributed is one of the primary benefits of writing one. Otherwise, a spouse inherits the entire estate if the couple either had no children or all the children are descendants of both parents. When there are children who are descended from only one of the spouses, the surviving spouse still gets one-half of the estate. Anyone who prefers a different distribution of their property should consult a Coconut Grove attorney about making a will.

Using a Will to Protect Vulnerable Family Members

Many people have loved ones who cannot care for themselves because of physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. A testator could use the will to ensure funds will be available to care for a disabled loved one after they die. If the vulnerable person needs a guardian, the will could also name a proposed guardian.

Parents of minor children can protect them through a will by designating someone to raise them if the parents die before the children reach adulthood. When parents do not designate someone to raise their children, the state usually places the children with a family member or possibly in foster care.

Anyone worried about young children or other vulnerable loved ones should have a candid conversation about their concerns with a Coconut Grove wills attorney. They can suggest ways of ensuring the loved one has a safe home and the financial resources to afford the care they need.

Legal Formalities for an Enforceable Will

It is important for a person to consider writing a will as soon as possible. The law requires a testator to be of sound mind when they create a will—if there is a question about the testator’s mental competency, the court could find the will invalid.

Courts will not enforce oral wills but handwritten or typed wills are acceptable. Two witnesses must watch a testator sign a paper will. Any competent adult can witness this, but it is best practice to ensure the witnesses are not related to the testator or beneficiaries of the will.

A will could be in an electronic format too. Florida Statute § 732.522 describes the requirements for executing and filing an electronic will. A Coconut Grove attorney can ensure an electronic will is legally compliant and enforceable.

Contact a Coconut Grove Attorney to Prepare Your Will Today

A last will and testament provides essential security for your family. Do not let discomfort with the idea of dying deprive your loved ones of the protection they deserve.

Contact a Coconut Grove Wills lawyer for advice. Call now to schedule a free case evaluation with The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm.