“Death brings out the best and the worst in families.”
If you have been through a personal loss, you may have experienced it first-hand. Grief and stress understandably are at their peak in the event of the loss of a loved one. From a legal perspective, it is essential to make sure all your affairs are in clear order to eliminate any additional stress for your family members and loved ones.
Make sure your Will is executed correctly. The best way to do this is to have an experienced Estate Planning attorney assist you in preparing your documents. Wills need to be signed and witnessed, usually by two independent witnesses, as well as notarized in Florida. Do not involve family members and beneficiaries in preparing your Will, they should also not be present when executing.
Explain your decision. It’s a good idea to discuss with your family members when you draft your Will to explain why someone is getting a reduced share or left out altogether. If you do not feel comfortable discussing one on one, be sure to clearly state the reason in the will. You may also want to include a letter with your documents. It’s important the Will not appear to have an inadvertent omission of a potential heir.
Prove competency. Generally speaking, you must know what you are doing, understand the consequences of including and excluding beneficiaries and have knowledge of the value of your estate. You must understand that they are signing a Will and approve of its contents. A common challenge is to claim that the deceased member was not of sound mind at the time he or she signed the document. You can try to avoid this by making sure the attorney drafting the Will tests you for competency. Depending on your circumstances, this could involve seeing a doctor or answering a series of questions. You can also prove further competency by video recording the signing which would make it more difficult for family members to argue that you did not have the necessary mental capacity.
Heidi S. Webb, Attorney at Law serves clients in Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, Port Orange, and beyond with matters of Elder Law, Estate Planning, and Small Business Law. Contact her today to schedule a free consultation. Visit her page on Facebook, or see what her clients are saying to learn more about Heidi.