Wills and Testaments

Between 50% and 80% of all Americans and 92% of all people under age 35 do not have a will. Many are in denial about possible death, with many people thinking it is unnecessary or too expensive to write a will.

When death does happen, the family is grieving and having to make difficult financial decisions can be difficult. The family may not be able to access documents online and may not have the legal authority to receive inherited assets. Estate planning creates a seamless process for family members to obtain their assets, sometimes without going through the court ordered probate process.

Most everyone dies with assets of value and liabilities to settle, however, most people do not create a plan to help others figure out the process. An estate consists of the assets that have value and liabilities you owe at the time of your death. Most people would prefer to do anything besides working on their estate planning leaving their loved ones to pick up the pieces in the event they die.

Florida Estate Critical Estate Planning Documents:

  1. Power of Attorney. A Power of Attorney will conduct business on your behalf in the event you are disabled. The Florida durable power of attorney is fundamental to estate planning and will be the only valid document.
  2. Advance Healthcare Directive. An advance healthcare directive is commonly known as the Florida Living Will and Florida Designation of Healthcare Surrogate. Do not resuscitate and medical power of attorney.
  3. Last Will. The most formal and recognized of all estate planning documents which becomes public record when probate is filed.

Estate Planning Myths:

  1. Having estate planning documents complicates things. Estate planning is complicated and having your estate planned out with documents simplifies the process.
  2. Planning my estate will cause me to die earlier. This is illogical and false.
  3. My friends or a legal website will help me with my estate. You want an experienced attorney who is an expert on estate planning in your corner.

Florida Estate Planning Laws

Like most laws, estate planning laws vary by state. When you move, you want to ensure your estate plan is valid. Florida will recognize a typed will as valid if it was valid in the state it was executed in. Holographic (handwritten) and oral wills are not accepted in Florida. A will can be written in a foreign language provided there is a true and proper English translation attached.

Homestead laws differ from most other states. Homestead laws in Florida are very particular, making it crucial to have your plan reviewed by a Florida attorney to ensure the homestead is protected under Florida law.

It is a good practice to have a Florida attorney review your will to ensure it complies with and is valid under Florida Law.

Family Law Attorney Palm Beach Gardens

Paul J. Burkhart

Estate planning is a very specific area of law that encompasses wills, trusts, health care directives, probate and more. Contact Paul J. Burkart for estate planning legal advice.

Our team assists both individuals, and business clients with all their legal needs, including business and Corporate Transactions, Business/Commercial and Civil Litigation, Real Estate, Intellectual Property, Family Law, and Estate Planning matters. We are a full-service private law firm ready to assist you with any request, large or small. Call 561-880-0155 or visit our website.


Law Offices of Paul J Burkhart, PL
800 Village Square Crossing
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410
Phone: (561) 880-0155

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