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Couldn't I inform my family members of my wishes?

The thought of planning one's estate can be overwhelming for some. They might think the process is more difficult than it actually is, or they could feel uncomfortable at the thought of facing their mortality. If you are like some Floridians who are putting off writing their wills, you might wonder if you can just tell your loved ones how you want them to divide your estate after you are gone. But is this a good idea?

There are numerous reasons it would be in your best interests to plan a valid will, as FindLaw explains, such as the following:

  • If you die intestate (without a will), probate court will likely step in and decide how to divide your assets.
  • It is crucial to designate who you would want to take care of your children if you die, rather than have the court make that appointment.
  • Having a will significantly reduces the chance of your family members enduring a lengthy probate process.
  • You might want to leave someone out of your will, who might otherwise stand to inherit some of your assets.

Creating your will is an important life event, whether you are ready to make end-of-life decisions or planning ahead for an unforeseen emergency. Therefore, it is not enough simply to speak to your family members about your wishes, regardless of how well they get along, since probate court is not likely to honor any instructions that are not in writing in a valid will. This information should not replace an attorney's advice.

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