Experienced Florida Attorney Drafts Estate Documents
Tallahassee Estate Planning Lawyer Helps You Prepare Your Family for the Future
A will is essential at every stage of your life, providing you with the opportunity to distribute your property, establish care for your children and otherwise express your wishes for what will happen upon your death. A will is necessary if you intend to leave property to someone who is not your blood relative, e.g., a domestic partner, a friend or a charity.
If you die without a will, the court determines how your property is distributed, who cares for your children and even what happens to your beloved pet — and the decisions the court makes might not reflect your desires. Jeff Albert, P.A. can draft a valid will that accurately conveys your intentions so your final wishes will be honored.
What Constitutes a Valid Will?
Wills are not difficult to execute, but simple mistakes can render them invalid in whole or in part. Essential elements of a valid will include:
The testator must intend that the document created be a last will and testament at the time it is created. Therefore, the testator must have capacity, meaning sound mind and comprehension, and the testator must create the will voluntarily, without coercion, compulsion or undue influence.
A traditional will is written, signed by the testator and either affirmed by a disinterested witness or a self-proving affidavit. A disinterested witness is one who does not stand to gain by the execution of the will. An example of a self-proving affidavit is a holographic will, which is written with the testator’s own hand, and proven by handwriting analysis. Modern technology also allows for holographic wills made with video recording devices.
A statement within a will which is confusing or open to various interpretations can invalidate all or part of the will. An error in the execution of your will can cause confusion in the court and rancor among your heirs. To make sure that your wishes can be carried out, let Jeff Albert, P.A. draft a valid will
Reviewing and Changing Your Will
As your life unfolds, your circumstances change and your concerns may shift. To remain current, you should review and update your will every three to five years. I review your will in light of your current finances, marital status and family situation. I draft valid codicils that address changes in your circumstances and outlook.
Appointing a Guardian for Your Minor Children
Your will allows you to make contingency plans for the care of your minor children. This is especially crucial if you are a single parent, but married couples must also consider the remote possibility of death in a common accident. If you have not named a guardian for your children, the court appoints one, who may make decisions contrary to your wishes. In your will, you can also make arrangements for the care of your pets, naming a guardian to take responsibility for them.
Creating an Optimal Estate Plan
Drafting an effective will is more involved than drafting a valid will. Jeff Albert, P.A. works closely with you to identify your legacy goals and advise you on the best means to achieve them. Sometimes, this means conveying assets via a will. At other times, disposing of assets via a will triggers estate taxes, sharply diminishing the value of the bequest. Often, when discussing financial and real estate assets, I uncover liability exposure that raises doubts about whether those assets could survive even a short run of bad luck. It is then that I discuss the need for a comprehensive estate plan, including a variety of trusts, that can protect your wealth for enjoyment during retirement, then transfer it seamlessly to your heirs without estate tax issues.
Drafting Estate Documents
I draft all manners of documents including but not limited to:
i. Last Will and Testament
ii. Durable Power of Attorney
iii. Health Care Surrogate
iv. Living Will
I often am asked to review an offer or draft a real estate contract as well as represent both a buyer or seller in a real estate purchase or sale. In addition, my ability to assist throughout the state of Florida often allows me to represent a client both on the sale of a property and then a purchase of a different property. I am also contacted when deals go south for one reason or another and represent client’s as both buyers or sellers in breach of contract matters, whether pre-suit or in litigation.
Sometimes just a simple demand letter from an attorney on his or her letterhead can resolve a dispute between two parties. In those instances, as well as before I initiate litigation, I often will review the necessary documents and draft a demand letter to the other party requesting an amicable resolution of the matter. However, a letter is not necessarily always a good idea.
Legal Document review and advice
In almost every scenario where my legal advice is sought, whether it is a breach of contract issue, landlord tenant matter, real estate issue, or the desire to initiate a lawsuit, I will often review documents on behalf of a client just to advise to help the client understand the legal ramifications of the document. In addition, I may determine upon a review of documentation that an issue is indefensible or unrealistic. Under those circumstances, it is nice to have an attorney willing to look at documents and explain the legal ramifications to you for a reasonable flat fee.
North Florida Civil Litigation Attorney With More Than Three Decades Of Experience