A will is a document that should specify what happens to your estate and other assets when you pass away. Every state has it’s own laws to enforce how a will should be drafted in order for it to be considered valid. It is extremely important that your will adheres to the following requirements because if your will is not considered a valid document when you pass away, your wishes may not be carried out properly and your estate will end up in the hands of the court’s jurisdiction.
- The testator (maker of the will) must be at least 18 years of age.
The testator can also be a minor if they are legally emancipated. The testator must also be of sound mind at the drafting and signing of the will.
- The will must be in writing.
Verbal agreements are not considered valid and will not be recognized as a proper testament to the wishes of the testator. A handwritten will can be valid as long as it includes the required Florida formalities.
- The testator’s signature must be on the will.
The signature must also be at the end of the document. In the event that the testator is unable to sign it, they may elect a power of attorney to sign it on their behalf, but it becomes a bit more likely that the will might be taken into question if this occurs.
- Two attesting witnesses are required to sign the will.
The witnesses can be anyone competent who can sign it in the presence of the testator and each other. While the law allows for the beneficiaries to be witnesses, it is often better for the witnesses to have no interest in the will to avoid it being questioned in the future. If someone signs the will on behalf of the testator, they cannot be considered one of the witnesses.
No matter how perfect a will may be prepared for you, unless it is properly executed in strict compliance with the laws of Florida, the will may be entirely void. Be sure that you execute your will in the presence of your attorney, who knows exactly how and in what order the will should be signed. In addition, an experienced attorney will be able to coordinate the use of other skilled professionals, such as an investment adviser, actuary, insurance specialist and tax accountant, and notary to complete a proper estate plan. Contact our office at (954) 755-7803 or click the link here to help with your Estate Planning needs.