Last Will & Testament
Q. What happens if I die without a will in Florida?
A. Florida has laws (known as "intestacy laws") that state who your assets will go to and what share they will receive in the event you die without a valid will. The laws are very general and designed to ensure that your property goes to someone, but it may not be what you expect. Many factors will impact who your assets going to including if you are married, if you have children, if either you or your spouse has children from a previous relationship, etc.
Q. What are the advantages of a will?
A. A will serves as a written guide of your intentions. Through your will, you can provide for your loved ones in the way you believe best serves their individual needs. You decide who, what, when, and where. You can spread the payments out over a long period of time, or you can provide money for your grandchildren to use for college expenses or to purchase their first home. You can leave money to your church or a charity that is near to your heart.
Q. Are wills revocable, and how often should they be reviewed?
A. Yes. Wills may be amended, modified or revoked at any time and for any reason. We recommend that you review your estate plan at any time you experience a change in your family circumstances (i.e. marriage, birth of a child, divorce, death in the family, etc) or every 4-5 years otherwise because changes in the law may lead to necessary changes in your estate plan.
Q. What if I don't want my children to get all of my money right away?
A. Through your will you may set up what is known as a "Testamentary Trust." A Testamentary Trust is a trust set up through your will. In your will, you will establish the circumstances under which a trust will be established, who will act as Trustee (the person who controls the money while it is held in trust) and what expenses the funds may be used while they are held in trust and when the trust will terminate.
For example, you may state that a trust be established for any beneficiary under 30 years of age, that Uncle Joe will be the trustee, that trust funds may be used for the health, education, maintenance and support of the beneficiary and that the trust will terminate when he or she reaches 30 years of age and that any remaining assets shall be distributed to him or her.
Serving families throughout the western panhandle including the areas of Pensacola, Gulf Breeze, Pensacola Beach, Milton, Pace, Cantonment, Navarre, Jay, Beulah, Mary Esther, Fort Walton, Destin, Niceville, Crestview, Perdido, Bagdad, Santa Rosa Beach, Escambia County, Santa Rosa County and Okaloosa County.
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