One of the most unpopular topics to consider is what happens when a loved one passes a way. One method to provide your family with some stability and security is to prepare a Will. However, completing a Will is never a necessity. We see headlines just about every other day it seems of some rich and famous celebrity who passes away without having prepared a Will. However, most of us are neither rich nor famous. Most of us do not want the assets of our estate to be eaten up by “dirty, rotten, lawyers”, myself included. Having a Will is no guarantee, but it attaches several advantages if it is prepared properly. When certain people think about their family members and loved ones, their long-term planning and concurrent obligations shift them to the thoughts of preparing a Will.

It is best to consult an expert regarding these kinds of delicate matters, such as inheritance and succession planning. Nowadays, there are many “internet services” that offer reduced-price Will preparation. However, why run the risk of your family being left exposed because of a simple oversight.

Sometimes, we do not even know the right questions to ask. Life often changes unexpectedly within a matter of seconds. This is a reason why you should not delay estate planning. A comprehensive estate plan is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, your spouse, and your family. The Victoria Law Group can work with you to help ensure that you meet your final wishes.

Wills are a basic component of good estate plan.

Property, assets, and legacies are not made easily. If you have worked hard enough to own it, then you must work smart enough to protect it and to control the distribution of your assets. The Victoria Law Group is willing and able to help you ensure that your financial goals for your family survive.

Please contact us when you are ready to have this serious conversation.

Top Questions For Wills:

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Top 10 Questions For Wills:

Wills are a method for exercising control over your assets and is a tool by which you decide how to enforce it. The assets, after a person passes on intestate, pass on to the surviving spouse in the U.S. without incurring tax liabilities by virtue of the United States Estate and Gift Tax Law. Making a Will before you pass on helps you in planning the distribution of your wealth and assets. By way of a Will, the deciding power comes in your hand, and you allocate resources as per your wish and desire.

Probate is another aspect linked to a Will, which involves assigning the assets to a Personal Representative who acts as a manager for your assets. The administrator is bound to distribute assets and pay the creditors through a legal process, which may often be time-consuming. A Testamentary Will – one of the most commonly drafted Wills — lets you appoint guardianship of your children and lets you exercise control over your property.

In the case of a Will, the procedure begins from drafting a Will cautiously and goes on until the appointment of an executor to carry out the provisions of the Will, keeping their true intent in mind. The executor appointed in a Will is required to carry out the documentation process and distribute assets to the beneficiaries.

A Will is made for fulfilling your desires and responsibilities with respect to owned assets. One must always stay away from including unnecessary and confusing details in a Will. Additionally, a Will should not include the transfer of assets or property with joint owners. Here is a list of common details that you should not include in a Will:

     ● Plans and arrangements of funeral
     ● Share in a business partnership without the consent of partners
     ● Bank or other accounts held jointly with another person
     ● Gifts for animals
     ● Property held jointly by two or more owners
     ● Property that has already been transferred to a Living Trust
     ● Illegal Gifts and Requests.   

In the circumstances in which a person passes on without making a valid Will, he/she is described as passing on “Intestate.” In Florida, the state does not take or acquire assets of the deceased if one passes on Intestate. Still, those assets are distributed to the heirs of the deceased in accordance with an order of priority set by the prevailing Florida Law.

The distribution occurs in accordance with the order of priority, which is as follows:

Ø  In situations where the decedent is survived by a spouse only and no living heirs (children, grandchildren, parents, or other remote descendants) , the surviving spouse is entitled to receive all the estate of the deceased.

Ø  In situations where the  decedent is survived by a spouse and living descendants (those who are descendants of both the deceased and the surviving spouse) , the surviving spouse is entitled to receive all the estate of the decedent. In such a situation, the spouse must not have additional living descendants who are not descendants of the deceased.

Ø  In situations where the decedent is survived by a spouse and living descendants (those who are descendants of both the deceased and the surviving spouse)  but the surviving spouse also has such living descendants who are not descendants of the decedent.  The estate of the deceased is divided equally between the surviving spouse and the decedent’s descendants.

Ø  In situations where the deceased was unmarried at the time of his death but is survived by heirs or descendants, the descendants are entitled to the estate of the deceased. The estate will be divided equally amongst all the descendants as per  Florida law.

Ø  In situations where the deceased was unmarried at the time of his death and he has no descendants; parents or siblings of the deceased will be entitled to receive the estate of the deceased,  if they are living.

Ø  In situations where no descendants of the deceased  live at the time of his death, the estate of the deceased will be passed on to the remote heirs.

The rules described above are subject to other provisions and laws contained in the Florida laws.

The costs to Probate a Will in Florida usually include the attorney’s fee, the court costs, and the filing costs. The court filing costs are generally above $250 and is dependent upon the nature and size of the assets involved in a Will Probate.  Most attorneys will act on behalf of the beneficiary(ies) for a fixed percentage or fixed fee depending on the size of the Estate.

Yes, Florida law requires that. It is mandatory for a person who has possession of a Will to file it with the clerk of the local Circuit Court after learning of the death. If a subsequent Probate proceeding follows, the court will determine if the Will is valid or invalid.  Prior to the death of the Testator (the individual making the Will), the Will does not have to be filed with the Court.

Wills should be signed in the presence of witnesses, and certain formalities must be followed, or the will may become invalid. In many states, a Will that is formally executed in front of witnesses with all signatures notarized is deemed to be “self-proving” and may qualify for probate without the testimony of witnesses or other additional proof.  

Even if a Will is ultimately held to be valid despite errors in its execution, addressing such a challenge may be costly and difficult.   The best way to address a potential challenge is by executing the Will properly in the first instance. A later amendment to a Will is called a codicil and must be signed by following the same formalities. Be cautious when using a codicil because, if there are ambiguities between its provisions and the prior Will it amends, problems may erupt and ensue. In some states, the  Will may refer to a memorandum that distributes certain items of tangible personal property, such as furniture, jewelry, and automobiles, which may be changed from time to time without the formalities of a Will.  Even if such a memorandum is permitted in your state, you must proceed with caution.  This separate document can create potential confusion or challenges if it is inconsistent with the terms of the Will or prepared in a haphazard manner.

Whether or not you need an estate planning lawyer to help you draft a Will generally depend on the extent and the complexity of your assets and properties you wish to leave behind. Many people will only use a will to pass on things like a home or personal property to their loved ones. In preparing your Will, it is important to meet certain basic procedural requirements, like making sure you have witnesses when you sign the necessary documents.

However, with some careful reading and research, it is certainly possible to draft a valid will on your own if your estate is relatively simple. If your estate will be more complex or involves significant assets, it may be best to work with an attorney to ensure that your wishes are carried out  concerning the disposition of your property, and the Victoria Law Group can help you  get to the stage of drafting a defined Will.  

Estate planning arranges for the transfer of an individual’s property after death and may involve a will and/or trust or the application of state intestacy laws.

An estate consists of all property owned at death before it is distributed by will, trust, or intestacy laws. An estate may contain both real property (real estate, including houses and investment properties) and personal property (all other property, including bank accounts, securities, jewelry, and automobiles).

Real Estate Law

The Victoria Law Group consists of competent and dependable attorneys and legal professionals who are highly knowledgeable in the field of real estate law. Our team of legal professionals has assisted several residential and commercial clients with various legal matters associated with real estate including but not limited to the preparation and revision of contracts, acquisition of properties, refinances, foreclosures, deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure, short sales, landlord tenant disputes, eminent domain, leasing as well as enforcements and evictions.

There is no case too complex for The Victoria Law Group to handle. We understand Miami Real Estate; we were built for Miami Real Estate. We know how important the real estate industry is to the global economy and we work hard to provide our clients with the best solution for all their legal needs.

Representation in our Real Estate Practice Area includes sales, leases, title insurance and other transactions in addition to structuring complex sale and acquisition agreements and negotiating and closing complex mortgage financing on behalf of lenders and developers.