A Floridian’s Guide To Will Execution Requirements

The law in Florida puts a strong emphasis on statute compliance when it comes to will execution. It’s easy to see why this is the case. A will is an incredibly important document that affects many lives. Therefore, assuring its authenticity and preventing fraud in its execution is paramount. As a probate attorney in Miami, it’s a key duty to ensure you have followed all statutory provisions when executing wills. Should you not comply with the requirements, the will could be invalidated. This would result in the estate having to go through intestate succession. Therefore, understanding the formal requirements and complying with them is vital.

The Importance Of Statute Compliance

There are clear reasons why there are strict regulations and laws surrounding the drawing up of a will. Wills provide a clear incentive for coercion or fraudulent behavior from those who could benefit from any inheritance. This is why the law has been designed to ensure the testator’s wishes will be legally and appropriately carried out. Florida law has, therefore, explicitly defined the actions to be carried out for any will be to valid. If these actions do not take place, the will cannot be executable in the probate court following the testator’s death.

Putting It In Writing

The first requirement that must be met is that it must be a written will. A typed, printed or handwritten will is acceptable. Florida does not recognize an oral will (otherwise known as a nuncupative will). Florida also does not accept holographic wills (with no witness) although other states do.

Signing The Will

The second requirement is that the testator himself or herself or his or her proxy must sign the will. Previous case law has confirmed that the testator can sign his or her will with an “X.” The signature must be at the end of the will, below all disposing portions to be valid.

In The Presence of Witnesses

The third key requirement is the testator or his or her proxy must sign the will with a witness present. There must be a minimum of two witnesses present for the will to be valid. Who can be a witness? Florida law states anyone who is able to understand and be understood in respect of speaking the truth qualifies. Any interested person or beneficiary can be a witness. This option, however, comes with risks. Other beneficiaries may raise a challenge to the will, claiming the interested party put undue influence on the testator. The witnesses must sign the will in the testator’s presence and in the presence of the other witnesses. You must pay particular care to this element of signing the will. There have been cases where a will has been deemed invalid because one witness was in another room.

The Importance Of Using A Qualified Probate Attorney In Miami

Using the services of a fully qualified probate attorney in Miami is essential to avoid a potential dispute. Every year, many people contest wills because the formal requirements have not been fully met. Disputes over the validity of a will can be very expensive and distressing for all involved parties. Therefore, ensuring all statutes have been properly complied with at the time of the will’s creation is vital.

To ensure your will has been executed validly in compliance with Florida law’s statutory requirements, contact us today. As an experienced probate attorney in Miami, we are here to assist in the administration of your probate needs. With our guidance and expert advice, you can avoid any potential disputes in the future.

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