How can someone create a valid will in Florida?
Port St. Lucie, FL – A will is the most basic form of estate planning and property distribution. However, under Florida law wills need to meet some very specific requirements to be valid. They cannot simply be handwritten by the testator and signed, as such documents have no legal effect in the state.
Probate court requirements
A probate court executes wills and goes through the process of administering the estate through an executor and handling other legal matters related to property distribution. These are separate from general civil courts for lawsuits.
The Florida Probate Code lists various features that must be included in a valid to be recognized in court. Things like witness testimony or additional documentation cannot be used as a way of bypassing these requirements.
The individual creating the will must be at least eighteen years of age, so that they are legally considered an adult. Minors are not allowed to create valid wills.
Two disinterested witnesses must be present when the will is signed. These witnesses cannot be people who will receive any kind of property, money, or assets from the testator. It is usually recommended to not choose a close relative as a witness.
The will needs to be a written document. Florida does not recognize wills given through oral statements, although some other jurisdictions around the country do.
The person who is the testator must sign the will with the witnesses, and they must all be present at the same time and see each other’s act of signing.
There cannot be any questions related to the person’s mental capacity, duress, or other kinds of influence that may have affected the testator’s decisions regarding the creation of the will and items listed in the document. Will contests that end up being litigated in court often have issues related to undue influence on the testator by others, or if they were of sound mental capacity when the document was made.
People who have moved from other states
When someone has a valid will from another state, then moves to Florida, the will may not be recognized by Florida courts after their death if the will does not meet these requirements. The fact that the will would be considered valid in their prior state of residence does not cure any deficiencies in the document.
Getting prepared for probate court
The Estate, Trust, and Elder Law Firm handles all aspects of estate planning, including the creation of wills and other testamentary documents. Anyone who needs help with these issues in the Port St. Lucie area can contact a legal professional at the firm for guidance and advice.
Firm contact info:
The Estate, Trust, and Elder Law Firm
850 NW Federal Highway, #1004, Stuart, FL 34994
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