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Orlando Estate Planning & Probate Lawyer
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Orlando Living Wills Lawyer

Sound counsel for sensitive estate planning issues

A valid will is an essential part of your estate plan. A last will and testament drafted by Gierach and Gierach, P.A. is a written legal document that articulates your wishes for the distribution of your assets after you are gone. Upon your death, your will must be filed with the Florida Probate Court. The court then oversees the allocation of your assets.

Florida does not assess estate tax or inheritance tax. And federal estate tax does not apply to any assets left directly to a surviving spouse. Regardless of the size of your estate, you may bequeath your entire estate directly to your spouse without incurring federal estate taxes.

Valid wills in Florida

Compared to other legal documents prepared by a lawyer, wills have the most formal signing procedures. A last will and testament not signed in full compliance with Florida law may be void.

If you want to spare your loved ones from becoming involved in a will contest after you pass, you must take care now to ensure your will is legally valid by:

  • Signing your last will and testament at the end of the document
  • Signing in the presence of two witnesses who are both present at the same time and place
  • Signing in the presence of a notary public, in addition to the two witnesses, so that the will is self-proving, in case one of the witnesses dies or becomes unavailable. In Florida, a self-proving will is admitted to probate without the witnesses appearing in court.

A valid last will and testament in Florida also includes a clause designating a personal representative to administer the estate upon the death of the person making the will. The custodian of a deceased’s original valid will must deposit it with the clerk of the circuit court in the county where the decedent last resided, within ten days after learning of the decedent’s passing. A valid will may also include a clause creating a testamentary trust, a structure within a will that allows a person or group of people to manage assets on behalf of another person.

Inheritance laws in Florida

When a person dies without a will, Florida inheritance law clearly designates who will inherit from the decedent.

If there is a surviving spouse and no children, the surviving spouse takes everything. If there are surviving descendants in addition to the spouse, the surviving spouse receives an amount defined by statute and the descendant’s portion is distributed according to statute. The law gets more complicated as the family tree expands. An experienced estate planning attorney with our firm can help your heirs avoid such complications and ensure your wishes are honored.

Call us for dependable and personalized estate planning help

For legal help from experienced Orlando living wills lawyers, call Gierach and Gierach, P.A. at 407-598-8013, or contact us online today to schedule your free initial consultation. If a loved one has passed, and you’d like advice on settling the estate with or without a will, you can rely on our decades of experience in probate law. We also assist people from other states needing legal assistance in Florida.

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