"I am a Florida resident, 70 years old and currently working on my estate plan. I am wondering whether there are any disadvantages to only having a Will for my estate planning purposes. Please advise."

Answer:  The positive aspects of having a Will are that Wills are inexpensive (approximately $75). You name the personal representative to handle your estate and you decide how the estate will be distributed. These are very positive things that everyone should take advantage of.  

However, there are four negative things about just having a Will:  

  1. All Wills go through probate with the average fee being anywhere from three to ten percent in attorney fees.
  2. The probate process continues anywhere from six to twelve months or longer, which means that your loved ones are entangled in a long, drawn out court process long after your death.
  3. Wills do not plan for incapacity, and if you only have a Will and become incapacitated, you will probably be declared incompetent and become a ward of the court. Guardianship proceeding are very expensive and costly with an annual expense.
  4. Wills are a public document upon death. Anyone can purchase a copy of a Will for a dollar or two per page.

Joseph F. Pippen, Jr., Attorney at Law
Law Office of Joseph F. Pippen, Jr. & Associates
Largo, Florida  33771
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