Baby Boomers’ Barrister is an estate planning Tampa based law firm. There are no two people who are alike so estate planning is a very personalized process that involves setting a plan for ones assets based upon their individual desires.
The Baby Boomers’ Barrister gets a lot of the same questions from people in Tampa planning their estate. One of the most common questions is, my spouse already has a will so do I need to have on too? It is important that both partners maintain a will. It ensures that each person has a say in how his or her estate is to be distributed after death. If a person does not have a will, state law determines how the estate is distributed. If state laws do not coincide with the persons wishes it can leave the estate being settled in a way that would not be pleasing to the individual. Even if state laws coincide with your wishes and they would distribute your estate in the manner you would prefer, you must keep in mind that laws change. Importantly, Florida law has very strict requirements on how a will must be executed in order to be valid. If their rules are not followed precisely, the will may be contested and may not be valid. This is why choosing a knowledgeable and experienced estate planning attorney can make all the difference.
Protecting Your Children and Guardian
If you have minor children it is imperative that you have a will that appoints a guardian for your children. If both parents die and there is no will the court will appoint a legal guardian. Without a will the court is forced to make the decision without the guidance of the parents wishes. If only one spouse passes away the court will usually appoint the other parent as the guardian. However the court may keep control over any money that is to be passed onto a child. If the remaining guardian wants to use any of that money the guardian will have to keep detailed records proving he or she used all of the money for the child’s benefit. Sometimes the guardian will have to get prior permission from the court to be able to use the money. Much of this can be avoided with a well written will. Taking the time to simply have a will created can save long term, painstaking procedures, and red tape for the ones you love as well as your children.
Unwed live-in couples can designate certain portions of their estate to their significant other. However the will should be carefully drafted because the law does not protect unwed couples assets in the same way it protects married couples. A spouse gets an automatic share of the marital estate and one spouse’s will cannot deprive the other partner’s assets. Couples that are not married have no right by law to the other’s assets. If you are an unmarried couple, it is imperative that you have a will that can act in a way that expresses your wishes. If you are an unwed couple that has children together you should make sure your partner is able to receive the necessary assets to care for your children in the way you wish.
Changes to Your Will
A will should be reviewed regularly. We recommend reviewing your will at least every few years to decide whether changes should be made. Changes in the the law may require you to amend your will. You may have acquired additional assets over the year which will change how you may distribute your estate. There may have also been births of children or grandchildren which you would affect the way you want your will to be structured. Many people forget to update their will after births, deaths, or even divorces. If you fail to update your will to reflect these changes it can lead to unneeded and costly lawsuits regarding your estate.
Should I Make a Will Even Though I Am in Good Health?
You should make a will when you are in good mental health. If you make a will when you lack capacity, your will is not valid. “Death bed wills” are the most contested by potential beneficiaries.
If you want to find out more about estate planning you can click here to read some of the most commonly asked estate planning questions and the answers.
If you need help with estate planning Tampa residents, call Baby Boomers’ Barrister for a consultation. Whether it is a trust or a will we are the best law firm in Tampa to call for all of your estate planning needs.