The Importance of a Will

One of the most common myths is that only wealthy people need wills.  In reality, anyone that wants to ensure that his/her property is distributed  in accordance with his/her wishes, should execute a will.  The document serves multiple purposes and offers certain protections to descendants.

Not everybody needs a complicated will.  In cases where the husband and wife  have a right to survivorship,  a simple instrument is sufficient, at a minimum cost.  Regardless of the limited complexities required, a will is advisable because it simplifies the process of distributing assets amongst heirs.  The importance of a will increases when the deceased has had children by previous marriages because under Florida Law, the second spouse can inherit the assets of the deceased spouse unless there is a will that provides otherwise.  In addition, a will offers the parents the opportunity to express their preferences as to the custody of their children.  In the majority of the cases, the surviving parent will  most likely be awarded custody of the minor children.  However, in the case where both parents die simultaneously, which could occur in an accident, the preference expressed by the parents in a will have great weight in a court of law called upon to determine who will be the custodian of the children.

It is difficult to discuss all the benefits that a will offers in this article insofar as they are so numerous that it would require an extensive legal opinion.  One must be clear, however, that the instrument constitutes the last expression of one’s wishes to loved ones.  It also constitutes the last opportunity to protect the rights of children or descendants and ensure that they receive all the benefits of one’s assets. 

Regardless of whether a complicated or a simple will is required, one should seek an attorney experienced in probate law.  I have read about so-called paralegals that claim to have the capacity to draft these documents and  allege that their fees are far less than what an attorney would normally charge.    One must understand that these individuals are not regulated, do not require any specific training, and can make false promises without suffering consequences of their deception and/or their inefficiency.  By contrast, an attorney trained and licensed to practice must comply with Rules of Professional Conduct and must produce efficient work consistent with applicable law.  If the attorney deviates from this professional standard, he/she is exposed to severe sanctions.   I must, therefore,  recommend you seek out the attorney of preference to ensure that the last will and testament carries the weight of personal preferences and is consistent with the applicable law.  Loved ones deserve no less.

Luis A. González
Attorney and Mediator
L. A. González Law Offices, P.A

(407) 649 - 8389