Why do I need a will?

WillIn the state of Florida, if you die without leaving a will, the state will simply create one for you. Executing your own will* ensures that your final wishes are carried out upon your death. A properly drafted will includes provisions for your burial and body disposition, distribution of your personal property, distribution of your residuary property, provisions for guardianship of minors, and the selection of your personal representative / executor. It gives the personal representative / executor the right to sell property without obtaining a court order, includes a waiver of a personal representative / executor’s bond, and other provisions that may be important to you.


A note on do-it-yourself wills: Nine out of ten DIY wills that I review, are either completely invalid under Florida Law because of errors in the execution, or are missing provisions essential to the administration of an estate. There is simply no substitute for competent legal advice. Be especially wary of forms services that allow you to download a will or trust form, and “fill in the blanks.” Unless you are a qualified attorney, you may simply be creating a difficult and costly situation for your heirs.

Does a Will avoid probate?

A will does not avoid probate of your assets held in your name alone, with no beneficiary designations at the time of your death. A will simply instructs all interested parties of your wishes upon your passing.