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Fort Lauderdale Probate Lawyer, Kim Douglas Sherman asks: “Where is the Will?”

wills and trusts attorney Fort LauderdaleRecently, I was asked to serve as a personal representative [it used to be called “executor”] of a twelve million dollar estate.  The lady had died in a nursing home and had made a will that in large part was to benefit a religious organization and a good friend.  There was no doubt that she had made the will–BUT THE ORIGINAL WILL COULD NOT BE FOUND.  The effect of not finding the original will caused a huge departure from what the lady had expressed in her will.  Why? Because, when an original will is not found, and it had been in the possession of the person who made the will, under Florida law it is presumed that the person intended to revoke the will by its destruction.  In this case many distant relatives (who never knew the lady) surprisingly became beneficiaries of an intestate [no will] estate.

Based upon over forty years of experience as a probate attorney, here are my suggestions regarding wills:

  • Make a will, no matter what your age.  It is the surest way to assure that those who are important to you receive your bounty.
  • Use a lawyer to write your will; it is not expensive.
  • Use a lawyer to oversee the signing of your will, because there are legal technicalities that must be followed to have an effective will.
  • Keep your original will in a safe, fire-proof place, and tell the person who you want to be your personal representative of your estate where they can find the original will.  

If you have questions or concerns about making a will or other important documents like Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare Power of Attorney, or Living Wills in the Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida area, call me, Kim Douglas Sherman, Esquire, at (954) 489-9500.  Please look at our qualification set forth at our website: ShermanLegal.com.  Do Not procrastinate.  Do Not let your relatives fight over your estate.  Do make your intentions clear.  Make a will and keep it safe!



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