What Not to Include in Your Florida Will
Creating a will is a vital component of estate planning, allowing you to dictate how your assets are distributed after your passing. However, knowing what not to include in your Florida will is equally crucial. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the key elements and clauses that should be avoided in your will to ensure they align with state laws and serve their intended purpose.
1. Funeral Instructions
While you can express your funeral preferences to your family or in a separate document, your will is not appropriate for detailed funeral instructions. Wills are often read after the funeral has taken place, so including such instructions in your will may not be practical. Instead, communicate your wishes to your loved ones directly or appoint a specific person to handle your funeral arrangements.
2. Jointly Owned Property
If you own property jointly with someone else, such as a spouse or business partner, that property typically passes to the co-owner outside of the probate process. Therefore, it’s unnecessary to include jointly owned property in your will. Instead, focus on assets that are solely in your name.
3. Certain Assets with Designated Beneficiaries
Assets that have designated beneficiaries, such as life insurance policies, retirement accounts (e.g., 401(k)s and IRAs), and payable-on-death (POD) or transfer-on-death (TOD) accounts, should not be included in your will. These assets will pass directly to the named beneficiaries and are not subject to probate. Review and update your beneficiary designations separately to ensure they reflect your current wishes.
4. Illegal or Unenforceable Clauses
Florida law prohibits certain clauses in wills, including those that attempt to disinherit a surviving spouse or limit the right to contest the will. Including illegal or unenforceable clauses can lead to legal challenges and delays in the probate process. It’s essential to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to draft a will that complies with state laws and achieves your objectives without violating legal requirements.
5. Specific Gifts of Shared Property
Be cautious when leaving specific gifts of shared property, like a family home, in your will. If you share ownership with others, your ability to bequeath the entire property may be limited. Consult with an attorney to determine the best approach for addressing shared property in your estate plan.
6. Complex Trust Provisions
If you intend to establish trusts or provide for ongoing financial management, your will is not the ideal place for complex trust provisions. Trusts are typically created through separate legal documents, allowing for greater flexibility and customization. Include trust provisions in a trust agreement drafted with the guidance of an experienced attorney.
By avoiding these elements in your Florida will, you can help ensure that your estate plan aligns with state laws and minimizes the risk of legal challenges. Proper estate planning, including a well-drafted will and consideration of other estate planning tools, can provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones.
At Morgan Legal Group, our experienced estate planning attorneys can help you create a comprehensive estate plan that reflects your wishes and complies with Florida law. Contact us today to get started on securing your legacy.