Loune-Djenia Askew, Esq.
Dec 11, 2023
A Will is a formal written direction controlling the disposition of property at death. After creating a Will, there are formal requirements you must follow to change or modify your Will. A Will’s terms cannot be changed by simply writing something or crossing something out after the Will is executed.
A Will is a formal written direction controlling the disposition of property at death. After creating a Will, there are formal requirements you must follow to change or modify your Will. A Will’s terms cannot be changed by simply writing something or crossing something out after the Will is executed. In fact, writing on the Will after its execution may invalidate part of the Will or all of it. There are three ways to handle major life events that require updates to your Will:
Create a codicil: This is an effective way to ensure your Will remains up-to-date as things change in your life. Be sure to keep the newly written and signed portion of your Will together with the original.
Write a new Will: By revoking an old Will and replacing it with a new one, you can eliminate any potential confusion or anyone contesting the add-on. Writing a new Will might be the best way to go if you’re changing anything big, like changing a beneficiary.
Make a personal property memorandum. If your original Will has what is known as a personal property memorandum, you might be able to just replace it. If this is the case, you would, much like a codicil, have a separate document that accompanies your existing Will.
What happens when there is no will?
If you die without a will, your property will be distributed to your heirs according to a formula fixed by the law. Your property does not go to the state of Florida, unless there are no heirs at law. When there is no will, the court appoints a personal representative to manage your estate. The cost of probate is greater than if you had planned your estate with a will.
How long is a Will good?
It is “good” until it is changed or revoked in the manner required by law. Your will may be changed as often as you desire while you are mentally sound and not under any influences. All changes require a careful analysis and reconsideration of all the provisions of your will and may make it advisable to change the will to conform to the new situation.
Will a will increase probate expenses?
No, if there is property to be administered or taxes to be paid or both, the existence of a will does not increase probate expenses. Even if you have no will, your heirs must go to court to administer your estate, obtain an order determining your legal heirs, or obtain a determination that administration is unnecessary. These procedures are often more expensive than administering a will.
Are estate by entireties or joint tenancy with right of survivorship substitute for a will?
Joint tenancy with right of survivorship can be established when you and one or more people title bank accounts and other assets in multiple names with the intent to have ownership pass directly to the surviving owner when you die. These forms of joint ownership can avoid probate of the account or other jointly owned assets when you die. Tenancy by the entirety refers to a form of shared property ownership that is reserved only for married couples. A tenancy by the entirety permits spouses to jointly own property as a single legal entity. This means that each spouse has an equal and undivided interest in the property.
For more information, contact our office at Askew & Associates, P.A. by calling 954-546-2699.
Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney if you have any legal concerns.