Writing A Florida Will
A checklist for writing a legally valid will in Florida.
The legal requirements for drafting a valid will in Florida are not as complex as many people fear. There are just a few simple rules that you must keep in mind. Sections 732.051 through 732.518 of the Florida Statutes (1999) provide these rules.
First, you must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind when you write your will. What this means is that you must be able to understand in a general way the nature and extent of your property, the practical effect of your will, and your relation to those people who would naturally claim substantial benefit from the will. In reality, it is very difficult for someone wanting to challenge your will to overcome the presumption that you were of sound mind when you executed it.
Further, a will must meet the following requirements in its execution to be valid under Florida law:
1. It must be in writing.
2. It must be signed at the end either by you or at your direction and in your presence.
3. It must be witnessed by two people that must sign the will in your presence and in the presence of each other.
It is also wise to have your witnesses sign a self-proving affidavit. This will avoid the hassle of trying to locate them when the time comes to probate your will. "A will may be made self-proved at the time of its execution or at any subsequent date by the acknowledgment of it by the testator and the affidavits of the witnesses, each made before an officer authorized to administer oaths and evidenced by the officer's certificate attached to or following the will..." This must be in substantially the same form as provided by Section 732.503, Florida Statutes (1999). Further, as long as they are competent, it does not matter who your witnesses are. Also note that just because a witness may benefit from your will does not mean that your will is invalid.