Florida Wills: Living vs. Last
One of the most common parts of a Life Plan is a Last Will & Testament. A very important part is the Living Will. Florida residents have a constitutional right to determine any decision pertaining to their health. This is accomplished with a Living Will, Health Care Surrogate, & HIPAA release form.
A Living Will indicates your wishes to receive, or not receive, artificial life-sustaining procedures if you are in a persistent vegetative state, have an end-stage condition, or develop a terminal condition. Without this, family members will have to make that decision for you. This is extremely difficult and can often lead to very heated arguments.
Death Without a Will?
A resident that dies without a valid Will is said to die intestate. This means that the assets will be distributed according to the archaic laws in the Florida Statutes. Family members have no say in this process, meaning that some loved ones, like step-children, may not receive anything.
Virtually all estate planning attorneys will tell you that a Last Will & Testament is a great foundation. Even the most complex plans include a Will.
At the time of death, Florida residents possess an almost unrestricted freedom to dispose of their property as they see fit. The ticket to exercising this freedom is by executing a valid Will.
A Will is a vital part of every Life Plan, but it does have its limitations. It is great for naming a guardian for minor children, but does not avoid probate or provide the privacy or control of a trust.