Empowering You to Secure Your Future
Welcome to Florida Document Specialists! We are a non-lawyer document preparation service, specializing in providing Floridians with a hassle-free and cost-effective solution for the drafting and execution of common estate planning documents. Our team is committed to offering you peace of mind without the high fees that come with attorney services.
Please be aware that we are not attorneys and we do not offer legal advice or estate planning services. Our primary focus is on drafting documents according to the written information provided by our customers using our online questionnaires.
Our Drafting Services Include:
Traditional Will Preparation: Safeguard your assets and ensure your loved ones are taken care of by having a well-drafted will in place.
Electronic Will Preparation: Embrace the digital age with an electronic will, a convenient and secure option that complies with Florida’s Electronic Wills Act.
Durable Power of Attorney: Designate a trusted individual to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf, should you become incapacitated with a durable power of attorney.
Advance Directives: Specify your healthcare preferences, including end-of-life care (Living Will) and the appointment of a healthcare surrogate, with a comprehensive advance directive.
Lady Bird Deeds: Transfer your property to a loved one upon your passing, without the need for probate, using a Lady Bird Deed.
HIPAA Waivers: Ensure your designated healthcare surrogate can access your medical records by preparing a HIPAA waiver, which grants them authorization.
Streamlined Document Execution - Online Notarization and eRecording Made Simple
We go beyond just preparing documents for our customers; we specialize in assisting you with the entire execution process. Optional services include online notarization, making it easy for you to sign your estate planning documents from the comfort of your own home.
Moreover, we offer eRecording services for deeds, ensuring a seamless and efficient transfer of property ownership. Our comprehensive approach simplifies the process, allowing you to focus on securing your future with confidence and ease.
Our user-friendly electronic questionnaires make it easy to provide the information needed to prepare your documents. You’ll have the opportunity to review and make changes to your documents before signing, ensuring they accurately reflect your wishes.
Digital and Conventional Solutions for Your Estate Planning Needs
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Estate planning is the process of arranging and managing your assets, finances, and healthcare directives to ensure that your wishes are carried out during your lifetime and after your death. An important part of estate planning is to have the most common estate planning documents properly executed and in place, such as a last will (or an Electronic Last Will), durable power of attorney, living will, designation of healthcare surrogate, HIPPA waiver, and in some cases, a Lady Bird Deed (Enhanced Life Estate Deed)
Estate planning is essential for protecting your assets, ensuring your family's financial security, minimizing taxes, and avoiding disputes among your heirs. It provides a clear roadmap for your loved ones, ensuring your wishes are respected.
It's never too early to start estate planning. As soon as you have assets, a family, or dependents, you should consider putting an estate plan in place to protect your loved ones and your assets.
The key estate planning documents include a Last Will and Testament (or Florida Electronic Will), Living Will, Advance Directive, Durable Power of Attorney, and an optional Florida Lady Bird Deed (Enhanced Life Estate Deed).
It is also important to update your beneficiary designations on your bank accounts, investment accounts, and insurance policies. If you fail to do this, those assets will go to probate.
While it is possible to create your own simple estate planning documents, it's generally recommended to work with an experienced estate planning attorney complex estates or documents (like a Trust) to ensure that your documents are legally valid and accurately reflect your intentions.
You should review and update your estate plan every few years or whenever there are significant changes in your life, such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, the death of a beneficiary, or a substantial increase in assets.
Yes, you can change your estate planning documents at any time, as long as you are mentally competent. It is essential to update your documents to reflect your current wishes and life circumstances.
A Last Will and Testament is a legal document that outlines how you want your assets to be distributed upon your death and appoints an executor to manage your estate.
In Florida, you can also opt for an electronic will.
If you die without a Will, your estate will be distributed according to your state's intestacy laws. This may not align with your wishes and could lead to disputes among your heirs.
People often think that having a will avoids probate. It does not.
People wishing to avoid probate often use such instruments as a Trust or Lady Bird Deed. It's also important to update beneficiary designations on accounts and insurance policies.
When you pass away, the executor (personal representative) of your Will is responsible for managing your estate, paying off debts, and distributing your assets according to your wishes.
If your Florida estate qualifies, your estate can be probated through an abbreviated form of probate called a Summary Administration. This can usually be accomplished without an attorney.
A Will ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, rather than by state law. It can also help to avoid disputes among family members and minimize estate taxes.
Benefits of an Electronic Will:
The following is an overview of creating and executing a will online, including some potential benefits and limitations to consider. A last will signed and witnessed online is called a Florida Electronic Will.
One significant advantage of creating a will online is the convenience factor. By using an online service, you can complete the process from the comfort of your own home, without needing to find a traditional notary public or witnesses. Additionally, many businesses that offer notary services, such as UPS, AMSCOT, or your bank, may not notarize wills, making online options more accessible.
Another potential benefit of online wills is the video recording of the will execution process. This video can serve as evidence of your intentions if anyone ever contests your will’s validity.
Additionally, online wills may eliminate the risk of losing your will. Most online services provide a certified paper copy, but they also store an electronic version of your will in secure backup systems, ensuring you always have access to a copy.
Finally, creating a will online may be a safer option during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it allows you to complete the process without leaving your home.
It’s important to keep in mind that laws around electronic wills and their validity can vary by location, so it’s essential to ensure that any online service you use is compliant with the laws in your area. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to seek legal advice when creating a will to ensure that your wishes are properly documented and executed.
When choosing an executor (persnal represtative) or trustee, consider factors such as trustworthiness, financial and legal knowledge, organizational skills, and the willingness to take on the responsibilities involved.
A Will outlines how your assets will be distributed upon your death, while a Trust is a legal entity that holds and manages your assets during your lifetime and distributes them after your death. A Trust can provide more control over asset distribution and often avoids the probate process.
A Trust is a complex document that should only be prepared by a qualified attorney.
A Living Will is a document that outlines your medical treatment preferences in case you become incapacitated and unable to communicate your wishes.
How does a Living Will work?
If you become incapacitated, your Living Will provides guidance to healthcare providers and family members about your preferences for medical treatment, including life-sustaining measures.
An “Advance Directive” in Florida is a two-part document that combines a Living Will and a Designation of Healthcare Surrogate.
Why is a Living Will important?
A Living Will ensures that your healthcare preferences are known and followed, relieving your loved ones from making difficult decisions on your behalf.
An Advance Directive is a combination of a Living Will and a Designation of Healthcare Surrogate form, which outlines your medical treatment preferences and designates a person to make healthcare decisions on your behalf.
How does an Advance Directive work?
An Advance Directive provides guidance on your medical treatment preferences and designates a trusted person to make healthcare decisions for you if you become unable to do so.
Why is an Advance Directive important?
An Advance Directive ensures that your healthcare wishes are respected and that a trusted person is in charge of making decisions on your behalf, reducing confusion and potential conflicts among family members.
A Designation of Healthcare Surrogate form is a document that appoints a trusted person to make healthcare decisions for you if you become unable to do so yourself.
A Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document that grants someone the authority to act on your behalf regarding financial and legal matters if you become incapacitated.
How does a Durable Power of Attorney work?
A DPOA becomes effective when you sign it and remains in effect if you become incapacitated, allowing your designated agent to manage your financial affairs.
Why is a Durable Power of Attorney important?
A DPOA ensures that your financial affairs are managed by a trusted person if you become unable to do so, preventing potential financial hardships and disputes.
A Beneficiary Designation is part of a bank account, investment account, insurance policy, etc., that specifies who will receive the proceeds of a specific asset, such as life insurance policies, retirement accounts, or bank accounts, upon your death.
How do Beneficiary Designations work?
Upon your death, the assets with designated beneficiaries will be distributed directly to those individuals, bypassing probate.
Why are Beneficiary Designations important?
Beneficiary Designations ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and avoid the time-consuming and expensive probate process.
Yes, you can have multiple beneficiaries for your estate, life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and other assets. You can designate primary beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries in case the primary beneficiaries predecease you or are unable to inherit the assets.
Probate is a legal process that is overseen by the circuit court and aims to identify the debts of a deceased person while distributing their assets to either creditors or beneficiaries of their estate.
Florida Summary Administration, on the other hand, is a simplified version of probate that requires less time and effort than formal administration. Unlike formal administration, no personal representative (PR) is appointed by the court in summary administration.
People often avoid probate by using beneficiary designations, creating a Trust, or by recording an Enhanced Life Esate Deed (Lady Bird Deed).
Discuss your estate plan with your loved ones, ensuring they understand your wishes and know where to find your important documents. Providing a copy of your estate planning documents to your executor, trustee, or attorney is also advisable.
An Advance Directive is a broader document that includes a Living Will and a Designation of Healthcare Surrogate form. A Living Will only addresses your medical treatment preferences, while an Advance Directive also designates a person to make healthcare decisions on your behalf.
If you become incapacitated, your designated healthcare surrogate will have the authority to make healthcare decisions on your behalf, based on your expressed wishes in your Advance Directive.
After your death, your executor or trustee will gather your assets, pay your debts and taxes, and distribute your remaining assets according to your Will or Trust. If there are beneficiary designations, those assets will bypass the probate process and be distributed directly to the beneficiaries.