Florida Will Requirements

In order to make a legal Will, you must follow the requirements set down by law when writing and signing this important document. If you do not follow the Florida Will requirements, then your Will is most likely to be held invalid. This means you will be deemed to die without a Will and your assets will end up being distributed in accordance with the Florida intestate succession law. The state of Florida has strict requirements for making a legal Will.

What are the Florida Will Requirements?

The law governing Florida Wills is set forth in the probate code of the Florida Statute Title XLII Estates and Trusts. The section references on this page refer to this statute.

Testator Requirements

The person who makes a Will is called the ‘testator’.

In Florida, the testator can be any person who is at least 18 years of age and of sound mind. They must not be under any undue influence or duress when making the Will.

Florida also allows minors to make a Will with the court’s permission (called an emancipated minor) – see section 732.501 of the Florida probate code.

Execution Requirements

The execution requirements refer to how the Will must be signed and witnessed. Wills in Florida must be in writing and executed as follows:

  • The testator must sign the Will at the end;
  • In the presence of two witnesses;
  • The witnesses must sign in the presence of the testator and in the presence of each other.

The Florida Will requirements set out in the probate code also allow the testator to sign beforehand and then acknowledge his/her signature to the witnesses. However, it is advisable for all parties to actually witness each others’ signature simultaneously. 732.502

If the testator is unable to sign, he/she may direct another person to subscribe the testator’s name to the Will.

Any Codicil (a document amending the Will) must be executed with the same formalities.

Witness Requirements

Any person who is generally competent to be a witness may witness a Florida Will. 732.504

Unlike most states, a gift in a Florida Will to an attesting witness does not become void. This means your spouse or any other beneficiary may act as a witness. However, it is always best to use independent witnesses to ensure the Will has the best possibility of being admitted to probate even if it is contested.

The Requirement of Sound Mind

If you are concerned that the testator may later be deemed not to have had the mental ability to make a Will (if they are an elderly person for example) you may wish to have the person’s doctor confirm in writing that the testator has testamentary capacity. This should be done on the same day as making the Will.

Whenever executing a Will in Florida, make sure you follow the Florida Will requirements precisely. If the Will is contested, its validity may be called into question. You want to ensure there can be no objection to how the Will was made (including the testator being of sound mind and under no influence or duress).

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