A properly executed will is the hallmark of a good estate plan. Each state has its own will requirements, and Florida is no different. Therefore, when drafting your will, it’s imperative that you understand the laws that govern the validity of the document. In Florida, if your will fails to meet these requirements, the court will consider it invalid. This will make your estate subject to the laws of intestacy, which essentially means that the state will determine how your property is distributed. In order to avoid this result, please review the information below. For assistance in drafting your will, please contact an experienced Florida estate planning attorney.
Florida Will Requirements
Florida law requires that every will be:
- In writing,
- Signed by the testator (i.e., the person making the will), and
- Witnessed by at least two attesting witnesses.
While this may seem relatively simple, each of these requirements carries additional conditions. If a will fails to meet any of these requirements, the court will likely consider it invalid.
The Writing Requirement
A will must be in writing to be valid in Florida. This means oral wills are automatically invalid, even if they are captured on video. However, as is discussed below, a will that is written entirely in a testator’s handwriting but signed solely by the testator is invalid.
The Signature Requirement
Florida law is strict when it comes to the signature requirement. Not only must the testator sign his or her will, but the signature must appear at the end of the will. Florida law also allows for another individual to sign the testator’s name on the will if it is done in the testator’s presence and at his or her direction. However, even if someone signs for the testator, the signature must still appear at the end of the will.
The Witness Requirement
Finally, Florida requires that two witnesses be present at the signing of a will. Witnesses must either watch the testator sign the will or acknowledge that the testator previously signed the will. In addition, if someone signs the will on the testator’s behalf, this must be done in the presence of at least two witnesses. Florida law also requires that the witnesses sign in one another’s presence and in the presence of the testator.
Contact a Florida Estate Planning Attorney
In order to ensure that your will meets all of the above requirements, you should contact an experienced Florida estate planning attorney for assistance. At the Law Office of Angela Siegel, we provide comprehensive estate planning services to clients in Florida. Attorney Angela Siegel is an experienced estate planning attorney, and she regularly helps clients in Florida draft wills that are well executed and legally sufficient. Therefore, if you live in Florida and are ready to begin the estate planning process, contact Angela Siegel today for a consultation.