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What Can a Will NOT Do Under Florida Estate Planning Laws?


For many people, creating a will might seem like an overwhelming task. Caring.com, an online resource for information on issues that affect aging individuals, surveyed 2,400 respondents to find that under half have executed a will or other estate planning documents. The individuals provided different reasons why they have not undertaken the process, but the responses were clear that they understood the benefits and what a will does.

The flip side of the coin is what a will cannot accomplish, a topic that does not get nearly as much coverage when people look for information on the benefits. You might be surprised to learn about the limitations – and you can be sure your family will suffer the consequences if you overlook the details. You can count on a Dade City, FL wills and estate planning lawyer to create a plan that aligns with your intentions, but check out some important information on what a will cannot do.

Override Beneficiary Designations: If you have named one or more individuals to receive the proceeds of a bank account or life insurance policy, these assets pass to the beneficiaries by operation of law – not your will. They are not part of your estate and do not go through the probate process because they go directly to the designated person. 

Pass Certain Interests in Real Estate: The language on a deed to real estate could lead it to not be covered by your will. The key term is “joint tenant with right of survivorship,” which means that all interests of one owner go to the other joint owner(s) upon death. The transfer of ownership in this way is another situation that involves passing an asset by operation of law instead of your will. 

Cut Out Creditors: You cannot include provisions in your will that excuse your debts and accounts owed to creditors. Any attempt to do so will be found invalid by the probate court, and these amounts will come out of any specific bequests or the residue of your estate. 

Appoint a Guardian for Minor Children: You can designate a person that you would like to act as guardian for your children upon death, but the appointment will not be automatic. The individual you name to care for children must still go through the guardianship process to make it effective. Your intentions as stated in your will do make a strong case for appointment of the guardian, but the court must still ensure that the arrangement suits the child’s best interests. 

Learn More by Consulting with a Florida Wills and Estate Planning Attorney 

When you assume that your will can accomplish certain goals, the implications can be unfortunate if it does not function in the manner you expected. To avoid errors or omissions, it is important to work with a skilled lawyer when creating your will and other components of a Florida estate plan. For more information on how we can help, please contact the Dade City wills lawyers at The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane. You can call our firm at 352-567-0055 or go online to set up a consultation.




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