The Delta variant is upon us. This evolved form of Covid-19 is nearly twice as transmissible as the original virus, and it has several genetic features that make it more severe and resistant to treatment. The Delta variant has the potential to wreak havoc for months.  This article won’t be a plea for you to get the vaccine, as, chances are, you have already made up your mind about whether you will or won’t get the Covid-19 shot. 

This “variant of concern,” as the CDC calls it, comprises 83% of new cases in the U.S. With this deadlier version of the virus looming, it’s time to think about the harsh reality of the situation. You should ask yourself whether your last will and testament is up to date—assuming you have one. If you’re new to the estate planning game, then read this article, as it will serve as a guide for why you should create a will (or update your current one, if you have it).

What is a Last Will and Testament?

We all have “assets.” Our money, house, the possessions in our house, car, and more constitute assets for the purpose of a last will and testament. A last will and testament is, effectively, a legal document that tells everyone what you want to do with your stuff after you die. You can outline what you want to do with your assets, who you want to give your assets to, and what you want to happen your dependents, financial investments, and bank accounts after you pass on. 

There are a few requirements for a valid last will and testament in Florida. First, your will has to be written. Second, your will has to be witnessed and notarized according to the law. Third, it is necessary to follow Florida law’s formalities to the letter when executing a will. Lastly, to go into effect, your will has to be proven valid and permitted by Probate Court (usually not a problem, as long as the law was followed correctly).

Pros and Cons of a Last Will and Testament

As with anything, there are advantages and disadvantages to making a last will and testament. 

The “pros” of a last will and testament include:

  • You avoid the Florida laws of intestacy.
  • You have a legal document that reflects your wishes for your assets. 
  • You may be able to minimize federal and state estate taxes, should your estate be subject to them.
  • You can keep assets within your family. 
  • You might be able to protect against creditors. 
  • You can name your guardians for your kids in your will

There are some “cons” to a last will and testament. These are: 

  • You cannot plan for incapacity. 
  • The will must be filed in Probate Court. 
  • The will does not take effect until you die.
  • Your affairs might become part of public record, if your inventory is filed with the Probate Court. 
  • There are sometimes will contests and claims against the estate based on the will’s language.

Do I Need a Last Will and Testament?

After reading the pros and cons, you might be wondering if you need a last will and testament. There is a lot to think about, and there are alternatives to a will, including a trust and other legal instruments. 

You likely do need a will. Without one, you’ll die intestate, which means that a court will take charge of distributing your assets. They’ll pay off creditors, and it’s possible your kids won’t get anything, if there aren’t any assets left over after your debt is paid. However, you shouldn’t feel as though a will is your only option. There are plenty of ways to ensure your affairs are properly arranged after death, and these alternatives, especially trusts, have become increasingly popular over time. 

If you want to update your will, create a will, or find alternatives to a will, the next step you should take is contacting the attorneys at WFP. It’s not advisable to create your own will, as there are a lot of minor legal technicalities that you could miss, if you’re not trained. Getting it done professionally could save you and your family a lot of hassle down the road. Visit our website to learn more.