At Jackson Law, we believe that everyone can benefit from estate planning. When you have decided that it is time to take steps to prepare a last will and testament, trust, powers of attorney, living will, guardianship, conservatorship or other estate planning instrument, remember - it is serious business. In order to ensure the best possible results for your case, you should always use the services of an experienced Orlando estate planning attorney rather than resort to self-help. Downloadable forms or tear-out sheets from do-it-yourself guidebooks simply do not serve to meet all of a person's unique needs. You owe it to yourself to take advantage of the opportunity to consult with a knowledgeable lawyer who can answer your questions and help you craft an ideal estate plan for your individual situation. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution to estate planning, and even small errors such as a missing signature can cause major problems later on.
Our Orlando estate planning and probate lawyers frequently hear clients say, "I don't need a last will or estate plan. Just as I had to earn my own way, so can my children. Besides, the state won't deprive my family of my assets when I die nor interfere following my death." Older generations have developed quite an arsenal of myths and misinformation built on hearsay acquired throughout their lives from misinformed relatives, friends, neighbors and other acquaintances. The fact is that estate planning is not just for the elderly or wealthy; it is something that anyone who cares about their family should do.
If you die intestate, without having written a will or set up a trust, the assets that you leave behind will be distributed according to the arbitrary dictates of state law. Consequently, your estate will be divided up without any thought as to what you would want, and the process can easily get bogged down in probate. This may mean that your loved ones will have to wait far longer than necessary to receive their inheritances, and they may even receive far less than you had hoped due to the costs of probate.
Unfortunately, the laws in every state are different and are highly specific about how documents must be prepared and in terms of what can and can't be provided for in a will or trust; who can or can't serve as a witness to the execution of the documents; and statutory formalities that must be observed during signing. For example, in Florida a personal representative must be a relative by blood or marriage to the person making the will, or if neither, must be a Florida resident. To ensure that you take into account all such requirements and to avoid costly and frustrating complications, let us help you navigate the estate planning process. Contact our office now to learn more about how we can help and to get started on developing an estate plan for you and your family.