How Can Florida Residents Ensure Their Estate Plan Meets Current Legal Standards?

What Are the New Estate Planning Laws in Florida?

If you live or have recently moved to Florida, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the estate planning laws. Estate planning is often an emotive topic, but one worth discussing if you want to protect your assets when you're gone. Several tools exist that you can use to express how you wish your property to be distributed after your death.

However, for the estate planning documents to be valid and enforceable, they must meet the legal standards outlined in Florida estate planning laws. Skilled lawyers from a civil litigation law firm in Florida can provide an overview of these laws and help you plan your estate accordingly.

Florida Wills Laws

Creating a Will enables you to designate where and to whom your estate will go once you’re deceased. If you die intestate or without a Will, the probate court will distribute your estate according to predetermined succession laws. The probate court will work down your family tree, prioritizing those closest to you. The same happens if your Will is found to be invalid.

You can prevent your Will from being invalidated by ensuring you meet the required legal standards. Working with skilled estate planning attorneys in Florida can be an excellent starting point to protect your family and future. They can guide you to ensure it meets the following conditions:

  • You make the Will in writing
  • You are of sound mind
  • You are 18 years or older
  • You sign the Will using any symbol, mark, letter, or initials as long as you intend to use them as your signature.
  • Two witnesses sign the Will in each other's presence
  • It can be contested, meaning no clause should attempt to discourage anyone from contesting the Will
  • Can be amended or revoked

Florida Living Wills Laws

A Living Will is a legal document that lets you express your end-of-life preferences and what you want to happen if you become incapacitated. For example, you can state whether you wish to be kept alive through artificial support apparatus. The law states that you can forgo a death-delaying procedure if you have expressed so in a Living Will.

The legal requirements for Living Wills in Florida are:

  • You must be an adult of sound mind to create a Living Will
  • You must sign the document
  • It must be signed by two witnesses in the presence of each other, one of whom is neither a spouse nor a blood relative.

You also must notify your physician of the existence of the Living Will. Estate planning lawyers in Florida recommend providing a copy to your hospital and placing it within your medical records.

Florida Durable Power of Attorney Laws

A durable power of attorney is a legal arrangement that gives authority to an appointed person to make healthcare and financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. They can make decisions concerning life-prolonging procedures and medical procedures and treatments. The legal requirements for making a durable power of attorney are:

  • You must be a mentally competent adult
  • Two people must witness the POA
  • It must be signed before a notary public

Any power of attorney automatically ends upon your demise. It may also end if:

  • You revoke it
  • The agent is no longer available to execute it
  • A court invalidates the document

If you named your spouse an agent in your POA, their authority to act on your behalf under the document ends if either of you files for divorce.

Florida Trust Laws

Trusts can supplement or completely replace Wills. While creating Trusts is reasonably straightforward, the law demands that certain methods are used, and specific requirements met to make a Trust valid. You can only create a Trust if:

  • You are in the right state of mind to put up a trust
  • You indicate the intent for the Trust
  • You name a definite beneficiary, or the Trust is a charitable Trust, a Trust for non-charitable purposes, or a Trust for the care of an animal.
  • You have specific duties to perform under the Trust
  • You're not the sole trustee and sole beneficiary of the Trust

In creating a Trust, you must ensure you adhere to the lawful purposes of a Trust. It also must be consistent with public policy and must be possible to achieve. The Trust and its terms must benefit the beneficiaries.

What Else Should I Know When Planning My Estate?

Estate planning laws and requirements are broad, and it would be best to work with experienced Florida estate planning attorneys. They have in-depth knowledge of the estate planning process and can ensure you explore all the viable options to make your plan as comprehensive as possible. Other crucial factors to consider include:

  • Estate taxes
  • Protecting assets from creditors or future liability
  • Avoiding probate
  • Ability to control how your property is used after you die
  • Who will take care of your children if you become incapacitated or after your death
  • Life insurance requirements
  • Choosing your beneficiaries
  • The person you want to be responsible for executing your wishes

Your estate planning attorneys can help you think through these questions so that you can plan your estate from a point of knowledge.

An Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer Helping You Meet Estate Planning Legal Standards

Structuring your estate plan can be complex, especially if you have a large estate. The situation is further compounded by the fact that you must follow the estate planning laws in Florida. It can be an uphill task if you don't understand the legal standards of an estate plan. So, consider hiring skilled Florida estate planning lawyers to guide you.

The Dellutri Law Group, PA, is a civil litigation law firm with experienced lawyers. We assist and guide clients to help them make the best legal decisions to protect their rights, families, and future. Don't hesitate to contact us if you have questions regarding estate planning. Call us at 800-391-4337 for a free consultations. In creating a Trust, you must ensure you adhere to the law.