Wills & Estates FAQ
WHAT IS A WILL?
A will is a written direction controlling the disposition of property at death. The laws of each state set the formal requirements for a legal will. In Florida
You, the maker of the will (called the testator), must be at least 18 years old
You must be of sound mind at the time you sign your will
Your will must be written
Your will must be witnessed and notarized in the special manner provided by law for wills
It is necessary to follow exactly the formalities required for the execution of a will
To be effective, your will must be proved in, and allowed by, the probate court
No will becomes final until the death of the testator. It may be changed or added to by the testator by drawing a new will or by a codicil, which is simply an addition or amendment executed with the same formalities as a will. A will’s terms cannot be changed by writing something in or crossing something out after the will is executed. In fact, writing on the will after its execution may invalidate part or all of the will.
WHAT IS A REVOCABLE TRUST?
A revocable trust must be implemented as part of an overall estate plan. Ownership of assets must be coordinated between the individual and the trust.
Decisions must be made as to what assets are appropriate to fund the trust, the transfers must then occur, and the asset allocation should be periodically reviewed. Tax considerations must be discussed with qualified professionals. The trust agreement should reflect your family, economic and tax goals. A revocable trust can help you accomplish these goals when properly prepared and implemented.