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Wills are an essential estate planning tool

Jun 14, 2018 | Estate Planning

A will can function as a useful tool in settling one’s final affairs. Most people know to include a will in the estate planning process, but what exactly can a will do? Individuals in Florida who choose to use a will may wish to find out a little bit more about the functionality of a will

During estate planning, a will may be created. It can be a handwritten or typed document that can be drafted independently or with the help of a lawyer. The will gives instructions to the survivors about handling one’s last debts and the distribution of assets. In a will, the person also chooses an executor — the person who is selected to handle the final affairs. 

When a person dies, the original copy of the will is filed with the court and becomes a public document. The will then enters probate, which may take a few months or even years, depending on the circumstances of the estate. At some point, the executor is allowed to take control of the estate via a court order. An inventory of the assets is filed, and creditors and heirs are notified of the person’s death and pending will. Finally, the executor is cleared to handle the payments of debts and distribution of assets. 

Wills are an important part of estate planning. In Florida, other tools may also be used to circumvent the lengthy probate process, but wills always have their place. Beginning the journey of making one’s final plans can be intimidating. Many choose to make the process a little easier by retaining an estate planning attorney for more help and guidance.