, ,

What is a Valid Will in Florida?

If you or someone you care about wants to express how they want their assets to be distributed at the time of their death, they should make a Last Will and Testament.  We call it simply, “a will.”
Florida law is very clear on the formalities required to make an enforceable will.  Florida Statutes, Section 732.502 sets forth the requirements:

The will must be in writing.  Oral wishes and oral wills are not acceptable.
The person making the will should sign it at the end, in front of at least two witnesses, and declare that it is his or her will.
The two witnesses should see the maker of the will sign, and the witnesses should sign at the end of the document while in the presence of the person making the will and each other.

No particular form of words is necessary to the validity of a will IF it is executed with the formalities required by law.  There are provisions in the statute for persons who cannot physically sign the will.  Take advantage and be aware that there is a statute that will allow the will to be self-proving, and therefore admissible in the Probate Court without having a sworn statement submitted by a witness to the signing of the will.

As I said in one of my prior blogs, based upon over forty years of experience as a probate attorney, take 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, as explained above, 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 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 valid will and keep it safe!


, ,

A Power of Attorney cannot be used after the person has died.

This week I was contacted by a former client who presented a serious legal problem.  She had been living with her special friend, in the home that was in the friend’s sole name.  The friend had made a will leaving everything to my client.  Suddenly, the friend was stricken by a life-ending illness and was not expected to survive more than two days.  The friend was comatose and unable to act for himself. My client was distraught and more so, because she was afraid that creditors of the dying friend would take the house and remove her.  After a proper review this Probate Attorney in Fort Lauderdale, Kim Douglas Sherman, discovered that the dying friend had properly prepared and signed a Durable Power of Attorney that authorized my client to take any legal action that the dying friend could take.  Attorney Sherman explained that a Durable Power of Attorney was only effective while the person who granted the Power of Attorney was alive.  Immediate action was required.  A deed to the home was prepared, signed by the client using the Power of Attorney, and the deed was filed in the public records before the death of the person who granted it.  There were other important issues to be considered such as the delay the filing of an estate would cause, the tax consequences related to the transfer price, the claims of potential creditors, and the effect of the transfer on the existing mortgage.  But, the point of this blog is to make you aware that a Power of Attorney must be used, if at all, BEFORE, the death of the person who granted the Power.


Here are several important things to consider:

  • Have a will prepared and make sure that it is properly signed and witnessed.
  • Understand that to be effective, a Durable Power of Attorney must be in a proper legal form, must be properly signed, witnessed, and notarized.
  • Be aware that under the current applicable Florida law, a Power of Attorney cannot be contingent–that is– it can be used immediately by the person to whom the power is granted.
  • In order to accomplish an effective management of assets and debts when a person is unable to act for themselves, make a plan and talk to a Wills and Power of Attorney Lawyer.


If you have questions or concerns about Wills or Power of Attorney Law in Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida, or you need a probate law attorney to discuss your legal options, call Kim Douglas Sherman, Esquire at (954) 489-9500.  Please look at our qualifications set forth on our website.  Do not let yourself or your loved ones face uncertainty.  I look forward to helping you and those you love.


, ,

In Divorces, Look out for the Moving Target.

This past week I spent a considerable amount of time in an effort to help my client to see that there was not going to be any winning through the court system.  She was emotionally drained and physically ill from years of disputes with her former husband.  What became clear, from our point of view, was that the cost of the litigation was going to eat up and exceed the very best outcome which the Court would decree.  To her credit, my client listened to the advice of this Fort Lauderdale area divorce attorney with forty-years of experience, Kim Douglas Sherman, and she made the practical and proper decision to move forward with a bitter settlement.  To our surprise, having met the terms of the settlement as it had been communicated by the former husband’s counsel, new terms and conditions were raised by the former husband.  Even in agreeing to the original terms, the former wife was presented with terms that disemboweled the meager benefit of the potential bargain. After a long weekend, a re-analysis revealed that there was a new basis for agreement.  While the negotiation continues, the fight goes on–which means that everyone will lose, except for the attorneys.


Here are suggestions to assist in negotiations to avoid the “moving target”:

  • While it is enticing to negotiate verbally, obtain written terms at each step of the negotiations.
  • Make sure to take the time to consider each offer before responding.
  • Be practical and consider the costs, both financial and emotional, to failing to settle.
  • At the earliest opportunity try to be clear on what the other side actually needs to reach an agreement.


If you have questions or concerns about Divorce Law in Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida, or you need a family law attorney to discuss your legal options, call me, Kim Douglas Sherman, Esquire at (954) 489-9500.  Please look at our qualifications set forth on our website.  Be clear about the terms of potential proposed settlements and avoid the moving target.  I look forward to helping you and your family.