Do I Really Need a Will? : Voss' Views

Do I Really Need a Will?

by Patricia R Voss on 03/12/19

   No, but maybe yes.  So I guess I could say “it depends.” If you die without a Last Will, then Florida law ‘has a Will for you!’ The Florida statutes contain a list of who gets what depending on if you’re married or not, have children with your spouse or children from another relationship or have no children, etc.

   What does this really mean?  If you are married to the same person (that is, not ever married to someone else) and that person dies, as the surviving spouse you are entitled to everything.  If the two of you have children together, then you’re still entitled to everything. If your spouse dies and is survived by you and your spouse’s children, who are not also your children, then your share drops to one-half. If the two of you have children together, but your deceased spouse also had children from a prior relationship, then your share is one-half.

   This sounds nice, except for the 50% reduction part, but still most times it’s what you might choose anyway. If you are OK with this plan, then do you really need a Will? No.

   Where the answer is less clear is if you are in a committed relationship; or have a minor child for whom a guardian may need to be appointed; or if you have one or more adult children from a prior relationship; or if you have no children (or descendants) or spouse.  Each of these scenarios would put your estate into the hands of someone you might not have chosen and it’s certain that in each case, too, the cost of carrying out the plan set out in the Florida Statutes would be higher than if your directions were stated in your Will. If your situation looks more like these examples, then the answer to the questions “Do I Really Need a Will?” is “Yes!”


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