In Florida, Wills are generally governed by Section 732.502 of the Florida Statutes. To be valid, a Will normally needs to be signed by the testator who is of sound mind, at least 18 years of age. The testator’s signature must also be properly attested to by two witnesses who may or may not have an interest in the estate.
Wills specify to whom you want your assets distributed and can appoint guardians for your children if no parent survives. It can create Trusts and authorize the sale of real property without court approval. You can also appoint a personal representative who will administer your estate according to provisions of your Will.
Most Florida Wills today are self-proving, meaning that it has an attached affidavit signed by a notary public stating that the Will was validly signed and that it is the Will of the testator. If self-proved, there is no requirement that the witnesses to the Will appear in court to have the original Will admitted into probate.
If you die intestate, meaning without a valid Will, the court will have no choice by to distribute your estate according to Florida’s intestate statute.
If the original Will is lost, it is presumed intentionally destroyed by the decedent although a photocopy may be admitted to probate if certain conditions are met. If a later Will or Codicil is found, any person with an interest in the estate may petition the court to revoke the probate of an earlier Will or to probate the newer Will or Codicil.
If a Will has been totally administered, or the estate completely administered intestate and the personal representative discharged, no new Will or Codicil can be offered for probate.
Changes and Amendments
You can change a Will by drafting a Codicil, which must follow all the formalities required of a Will.
However, the better practice is to just creat a new Will containing language that you are revoking any previous Wills or codicils. You will also want to physically destroy the old Will and all copies of it. . If you just make written notes or alterations to the Will, they will be considered invalid and the probate court will ignore them.
Wills should be changed whenever you have a life changing event or if your financial circumstances substantially change.
Your Florida Will should be drafted by an experienced and skilled Orlando Wills attorney. The Morey Law Firm, P.A. can help! Our attorneys draft Wills and advise clients from the counties of Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Volusia, Polk, and Alachua.
Don’t risk any costly issues from a poorly drafted Will. For all your Will needs, contact the Morey Law Firm, P.A. today at 407-426-7222.