By: Phil Rarick
Here is a scenario we see more and more with persons who try to do estate planning themselves, specifically Florida Wills, without consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney. Louise has three adult daughters, Erma, Madeline, and Roseanne. The daughters are all close and speak to each other at least once a week. Louise wants to treat them all equally. Louise has four major assets: her home, a traditional IRA, a checking account, and a savings account.
Louise downloads a Florida Will form on the internet and says each child is to get one-third of everything she might own at death. She is careful to sign the will before a notary and two witnesses with a “Self-Proving Affidavit”. Louise dies, and the daughters schedule a meeting with a Probate Attorney. At the meeting the probate attorney informs the daughters that the Will is good under Florida law. However, despite the Will, 100% of the assets go to Erma. Madeline and Roseanne are not happy. How can this happen?