Executing a Valid Last Will & Testament in Florida.
Who can draft a Will in Florida?
The Testator is the person who wishes to draft the Last Will & Testament. The Testator may hire a Professional Florida Estate Planning Attorney to ensure their Estate Planning Documents are executed in accordance with the Florida Statutes.
How do I execute a Will in Florida?
The document should be labeled as your Last Will & Testament.
The document needs to be signed by the Testator in front of two Witnesses.
The witnesses should be competent adults under the Florida Statutes, and should not be considered a beneficiary under the Will.
If an Attorney drafts my Will, do I need to bring Witnesses to the document execution?
Your witnesses will depend on the Florida Estate Planning Lawyer you decide to use. Larger offices may use their staff as a Witness to your documents. However, if you decide to execute your documents on your own or at a financial institution, you will have to bring your own witnesses. A good witness is someone that can easily be found, in the event of your death.
What happens during an Estate planning document execution session?
Depending on the Estate Planning Lawyer, the document signing may or may not be recorded. Witnesses, a Florida Notary Public, and the Testator are all present during this session. The Testator makes the Witnesses aware that he/she is executing their Last Will & Testament. The document must be initialed by the testator and dated at the bottom of each page. The Testator then signs the last page of the Will and dates the document, in the presence of both Witnesses. The Witnesses then sign in the presence of each other and the Testator. It is important these documents be executed correctly to be valid.
Why do I need a Self-Proving Affidavit in Florida?
Florida allows a Self-Proving Affidavit to court as evidence the Testator’s Last Will & Testament was executed by the Testator. A Florida Self-Proving Affidavit is a separate document from the Last Will & Testament. The Last Will & Testament is considered legal once executed properly. The Self-Proving Affidavit should be executed at the same time, since the requirements are similar to executing the Last Will & Testament. A Florida Self-Proving Affidavit must be signed by the Testator, both Witnesses and a Florida Notary Public. In the event the a Codicil is filed, or a new Last Will & Testament, a new Florida Self-Proving Affidavit should be executed to save loved ones time during the Florida Probate process.
Does my Will need to be recorded in the Florida County Recorder’s Office?
A Testator does not need to file their Last Will & Testament with the County Recorder’s office in Florida. The original document should be should be kept in a safe place, where your personal representative can get to it. You can distribute copies to the Personal Representative and Beneficiaries if you decide to, however it is not required.
When should I change my Last Will & Testament?
In Florida, a change of the Last Will & Testament is termed as a Codicil. A Codicil can be filed if the Testator is making minor changes, however if the Testator needs to make major changes, a Last Will & Testament should be re-written. The new document will revoke the prior Will on behalf of the Testator. A codicil should be filed when the Testator encounters a major life change, like marriage, adoption, death of a beneficiary or personal representative, or additional property acquisitions.