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Definitions and laws in estate planning

Some people may think of writing a will as a fairly straightforward process, but there can be a number of nuances in the process. For example, like most states, Florida does not recognize either holographic wills or nuncupative wills. The former is a will that has been handwritten and signed by a person without witnesses while the latter is an oral will.

A will can be challenged on the grounds that the creator lacked what is known as testamentary capacity. However, it is important to note that the burden is on the challenger in these cases, and adults are generally presumed to have this capacity and to be capable of creating a legal will. Passing away without a will is known as dying intestate, which means that the state will be responsible for distributing a person’s possessions. It’s also important to be familiar with the executor, who has to administer the will.

One situation people should be aware of is that a surviving spouse can take a portion of an estate even if they’re not named in the will. People who remarry but want the estate to pass to their children should revise the will and also review their beneficiary designations.

An attorney can explain issues such as these as well as assist in creating additional estate planning documents. For example, some people may find that they need a trust. This is not just a way of protecting wealth in families with many assets. A trust can also distribute assets over time for an heir who might not manage a lump sum inheritance effectively.

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