Wills Trust and Probate
- What is a will?
- Do I need a will?
- Does a will increase probate expenses?
- Is a trust a substitute for a will?
- What is a living will?
- What is a durable power of attorney?
- What is a health care surrogate?
- What is probate?
1. What is a will?
A will is a writing signed by the decedent that meets the requirements of Florida law. The will sets forth how assets of the decedent will be disbursed to the beneficiaries. But a will can do more than that. A will can designate who will serve as the Personal Representative, whether a guardian is to be appointed for a minor, or what debts to pay out of which category of bequeathed assets.
2. Do I need a will?
Yes. If you don’t then someone else will decided what happens to your assets when you die. This someone else is the Florida Legislature. The Florida Legislature has created a statute which determines how assets are disbursed if the decedent dies without a will. There may be persons whom you want to have a greater share, a smaller share or no share of your assets. The only way to be sure your wishes are followed is to have a will.
3. Does a will increase probate expenses?
No. In many cases it can save money to have a will. This is especially true when dealing with real estate.
4. Is a trust a substitute for a will?
No. A will and a trust are two separate instruments. Each has its own purpose. Usually a trust is best suited for the long-term management of assets when you don’t want the beneficiary to have the control over the asset were, they to own the asset outright
5. What is a living will?
A living will can save your family from having to go through the stress of deciding whether to keep you on life support when there is no chance of a recovery. With a living will you make the decisions now regarding whether you will be kept on artificial life support and save your family and loved ones from having to make this decision.
6. What is a durable power of attorney?
If you want someone else to be able to buy or sell property, make business decisions on your behalf you may want a durable power of attorney. Also, should you become incapacitated, the durable power of attorney is still valid and someone else can make business decisions for you while you are unable to think and decide things for yourself. It is important to remember that upon your death a durable power of attorney is no longer effective.
7. is a health care surrogate?
Like a durable power of attorney, a health care surrogate allows someone else to make decisions for you. You can think of a health care surrogate as a power of attorney limited to making health care decisions.
8. What is probate?
The literal definition of the term probate is “to prove the will.” There are two primary purposes of probate:
- to transfer title to assets to the beneficiaries, and
- to pay creditors claims filed with the estate.