Florida’s Probate Code allows the Sunshine State’s adult residents to create a will with written instructions for distributing their assets after death. The Florida Legislature website notes that a will does not need to include a particular set of words when executed properly.
Testators must sign and notarize their wills with two or more witnesses present. The witnesses and the testator must also sign the will at the bottom. If any heirs or other parties contest the will, the witnesses could attest that the testator wrote the instructions while of sound mind.
What Information should a will contain?
As noted by The Florida Bar, a valid will includes the name of a personal representative or an executor. This individual manages the estate after the testator dies. The responsibilities include submitting documents to the probate court and notifying heirs and creditors of the testator’s death.
A will’s instructions name the heirs; it may also describe the testator’s assets and outline how the deceased intended the distribution. A will may also describe assets and properties intended as gifts for specific persons or charities. Some wills instruct the court to transfer certain assets to a trust with named beneficiaries.
What may a well-executed will help prevent?
Written instructions that include witness signatures could help prevent disputes between heirs. In some cases, wills help remove uncertainty about a testator’s wishes for end-of-life health care or medical procedures. A testator may also specify the intended guardians for minor children or spouses who require caretakers.
Probate could become a lengthy process, and choosing the right personal representative could help facilitate its completion. A well-written will that contains clear instructions may also make it easier to transfer the ownership of assets to their intended heirs.