Last Will & Testament | Will Harmon Law

Distinguished Florida Last Will and Testament Attorney

A last will and testament is the cornerstone of a comprehensive estate plan. It communicates an individual’s final wishes concerning the distribution of their assets, making it a crucial legal document for probate courts. It provides specific instructions about allocating finances, property, and personal possessions. Additionally, it can address guardianship arrangements for dependents, including minor children and disabled or elderly relatives.

Attorney Earl Harmon is committed to developing and executing estate plans that honor your wishes, bringing peace of mind that your legacy is safeguarded. Beyond the legal intricacies, he understands that estate planning is a deeply personal and emotional process. Attorney Harmon guides with empathy, allowing clients to articulate their wishes and distribute their assets in a way that aligns with their values and concerns. By fostering open and supportive communication, it ensures your will accurately reflects your desires and minimizes potential family conflicts.

Florida Intestacy Statutes

When someone passes away without a will, they are considered intestate. In these cases, the Florida Intestacy Statutes govern the distribution of assets and the appointment of guardians for dependents. As per these laws, probate assets are distributed by a specific order of succession, starting with your spouse and then your children. If you do not have a surviving spouse or children, assets are distributed to your parents, followed by siblings and their children. It is only in rare cases that the State of Florida might inherit your assets and property.

Amend or Update Your Will with a Codicil

A will ranks among the most pivotal documents for protecting your assets after passing. Crafting a will necessitates the skill of a knowledgeable attorney to avoid any pitfalls that may invalidate your wishes in the future. Regularly revisiting and refining your will ensures consistency with changing laws and objectives. A codicil to a will is used to modify or update the terms of a will without having to prepare a new document.

Substantial life changes that warrant a revision of your will include a family member’s birth or death, relocation to another state, marriage, divorce, or the establishment or dissolution of a business endeavor. Neglecting to amend or rewrite a will may result in unintended outcomes, such as unintentionally leaving an ex-spouse your assets or leaving a child from an inheritance. If you have recently moved to Florida, your will from another state may need to be revised or rewritten to comply with Florida laws.

It is important to recognize the limitations of a will. Notably, a will cannot:

  • · Serve as a mechanism to avoid probate
  • · Contain directives regarding funeral plans
  • · Over-ride beneficiary designations on other documents
  • · Transfer assets directly to pets
  • · Transfer assets to a minor dependant or one with special needs
  • · Effectuate the transfer of property that is held in joint tenancy
  • · Alter the distribution of property held in a Living Trust

It is important to note that a will is in effect only after the testator’s death (creator of the will). It is a common misconception that the personal representative in a will has the right to make critical health care or end-of-life decisions for the testator. However, a healthcare agent designated in an Advanced Directive, a Health Care Surrogate, typically makes these decisions.

Reach Out to Earl Harmon Law, P.A., for Comprehensive Estate Planning

Creating a will should not be taken lightly, as it has a profound significance that warrants meticulous consideration. Even seemingly uncomplicated estates can have complexities that only an astute attorney can foresee. In addition, beneficiaries, creditors, and heirs may contest a will during the probate process. A will contest can lead to contentious legal proceedings, substantial costs, time-consuming litigation, and emotional distress.

For assistance in creating, modifying, revoking, or rewriting a will, contact our attorney at Earl Harmon Law, P.A., at (352) 973-9699. We cater to clients of all ages and backgrounds, delivering estate planning services tailored to their unique needs. Call to schedule a FREE 30-minute phone or video consultation to discuss your options. Our legal services extend to clients in Lake, Seminole Counties, and the surrounding areas.

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