A Florida resident may want to reconsider an existing will if life circumstances change. Regular review of a will may be helpful for adjusting one’s wishes if assets have increased or decreased. This can also be helpful if the potential beneficiaries have changed as in the case of a new spouse or a new baby. For example, an existing will in Florida is not cancelled due to marriage, but it is important to note that a new spouse may be entitled to at least one-half of an estate whether a prior will exists or whether no will exists upon one’s death.

An individual relocating to Florida may want to have an existing will reviewed in light of state laws. One of the most important issues affecting disposition of one’s property is whether a will has been proved or not. A self-proving will may be able to go to probate easily, but if not, the will must be proved first. A self-proving will must be acknowledged before an authorized individual who can administer oaths. Witnesses must also make affidavits in front of the officer.

Because the laws of the state are very strict for execution of wills, failure to comply carefully with Florida will guidelines could result in nullification of the entire document. It may be important to work closely with an experienced attorney to avoid mistakes. Additional documents to consider in estate planning include living wills, health care surrogates, powers of attorney and guardian designations.

Because a failure to formalize one’s wishes in accordance with state laws could result in a different outcome than desired, it may be important to work closely with an estate planning attorney to ensure that pertinent details are considered and formalized legally. The attorney can also recommend regular reviews to address changes needed based on particular circumstances.

Luis E. Barreto