Creating And Protecting Your Legacy

The role of a will in estate planning

On Behalf of | May 27, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Crafting a will is not just about splitting up material goods after you pass away; it is also a way to provide for those you care about most, safeguard their future, and potentially minimize conflicts and legal battles. Whether you are a young professional just starting or a retiree with a lifetime of assets, understanding the role of a will in estate planning is crucial.

6 common types of will

Before creating your will, know the type of will you need for your situation. Six common types include the following:

  • Living will: A legal document that specifies your wishes regarding medical treatment if you become incapacitated and unable to communicate.
  • Formal will: A witnessed will that follows all legal formalities required by state law.
  • Simple will: A basic will that covers the distribution of assets and names an executor, without complex provisions like trusts.
  • A testamentary trust will: This creates a trust funded and managed by the deceased person’s estate after their death for the benefit of the named beneficiaries.
  • Joint will: A single will made by two people, typically spouses, to distribute their combined assets after they both pass away.

There is also a holographic will, which is entirely handwritten, dated and signed by the testator.

What happens if you die without a will?

Without a will, the distribution of assets may depend on state intestacy laws, which may not align with your wishes. A will lets you specify exactly how you want your property, money and possessions divided among your beneficiaries. In Florida, the deceased’s assets are passed to the descendant’s heirs; assets go to the spouse if there is no surviving descendant.

Estate planning and creating your will can be complex, and you may need to seek the help of legal professionals to help you safeguard your family and loved ones’ future.