Understanding Wills in Florida Executors, Guardianship, and Probate


Creating a will is a vital step in ensuring that your final wishes are carried out after your passing. In Florida, like in many other states, wills play a crucial role in estate planning. However, it is important to understand the intricacies of Florida’s laws regarding wills, including the selection of an executor, the inclusion of guardianship language for minor children, and the limitations of wills in avoiding probate.

Who Can Serve as PR or Executor

In Florida, the person responsible for administering the will is referred to as the personal representative (PR), while in other states, this role is commonly known as the executor. When creating a will, you have the freedom to designate an individual to act as your PR, who will be responsible for overseeing the distribution of your assets and carrying out your wishes as stated in the will. This person must be at least 18 years old; they must be a Florida resident and/or related to you by blood, marriage, or adoption; they must be both mentally and physically capable to serve; and they must not have any felony convictions on their record.

Guardianship Language for Minor Children

One significant advantage of creating a will in Florida is the ability to include guardianship language for minor children. This allows you to designate atrusted individual to assume legal guardianship of your children in the event that both parents pass away before the children reach adulthood. By specifying your preferences in your will, you can ensure that your children are cared for by someone you trust, rather than leaving this decision up to the court.

The Limitations of Wills in Avoiding Probate

While having a will is a critical component of estate planning, it is essential to understand that it does not completely avoid probate in Florida. Probate is the legal process through which a deceased person’s assets are distributed and debts are settled. Even with a will in place, the probate court is responsible for overseeing the administration process to ensure the validity of the will, resolve any disputes, and ensure proper asset distribution. Therefore, it is essential to consider other estate planning tools, such as trusts, to minimize the need for probate and simplify the transfer of assets.

Creating a will in Florida is an essential step in estate planning, allowing you to dictate the distribution of your assets and provide for your loved ones. Designating a personal representative or executor is crucial to ensure that your final wishes are carried out faithfully. Additionally, including guardianship language for minor children provides peace of mind, knowing that your children will be cared for by someone you trust. While a will is an integral part of the estate planning process, it is important to be aware that it does not entirely avoid probate. To fully explore your options for minimizing the probate process, consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney can help you navigate the complexities of Florida’s laws and ensure that your wishes are carried out efficiently and effectively.

Every adult needs a clear, enforceable plan for what will happen when they pass away or become incapacitated. Creating an estate plan protects your loved ones, assets, and legacy and gives you the peace of mind of knowing your final wishes will be honored.

At The Law Office of Kelly L. Fayer, P.A., we provide attentive, personal assistance to Florida residents who are looking to prepare for the future. Our experienced lawyer is passionate about helping our clients fully understand their options and implement tools that will accomplish their goals. No matter your circumstances, our estate planning services in Fort Myers are designed to guide you through the planning process and include assistance with a wide range of instruments, from wills and trusts, to advance directives and powers of attorney. When you need an estate planning attorney near you, contact The Law Office of Kelly L. Fayer, P.A.