Four Types of Wills Under Florida Estate Planning Laws
A last will and testament is one of the most important, foundational estate planning documents you prepare. It gives you control over where your assets go upon your death, thereby giving you peace of mind during your lifetime knowing that your final affairs are addressed. By law, creating a will is relatively straightforward: You must follow Florida’s rules on execution, witnessing, and notarization, but there is no specific form for the document.
However, complying with the law is very different from creating a will that serves your unique personal and family needs. There are different types of wills that support different purposes, and the best fit will depend on your circumstances. A Florida wills and estate planning attorney can advise you on your options, but an overview may be useful.
- Simple Will: The most basic form of will appoints an executor to handle your affairs, addresses which individuals will receive specific assets, and who will take the remainder of the estate. You might also designate a guardian for any minor children, though court approval is necessary.
- Pour Over Will: This type of will is linked to a trust that you create and fund with assets during your lifetime. At your death, there may be assets you did not title in the name of the trust, so a pour over will is a way of filling the gap. The provisions direct that all remaining assets in your name be “poured over” into the trust, a transfer that takes place by operation of law. In doing so, these assets will not go through the probate process.
- Mirror Image Will: When a married couple creates a joint estate plan, they often have one key provision in common that they want to include in their will: Giving all assets to the surviving spouse at death. A mirror image will accomplish this goal, with additional specifications on who receives the estate upon the death of the second spouse. The mirror image should not be confused with a joint will, which is typically a single document signed by two people. Because of the limitations on what happens at the first spouse’s death, a joint will is not the best option for many situations.
- Living Will: There is some confusion regarding this document, which is actually not a will at all. Instead, a living will includes the specifics about life-extending treatment and end-of-life medical care in the event that you become incapacitated. You can express your wishes about receiving nutrition, resuscitation, and related matters if you are terminally ill or suffered life-threatening injuries.
Learn More by Consulting with a Dade City, FL Wills and Estate Planning Lawyer
If you would like additional information on any of the four types of wills described above, our Dade City wills attorneys at The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane can provide you with details. Please contact our office at 352-567-0055 or complete our online contact form to set up a consultation. Once we review your situation, we can put you on the right track and assist with creating a will that suits your needs.