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Florida’s Requirements for a Properly Executed Will and Related Issues

florida-attorney-reed-bloodworth-properly-executed-willAttorney Reed Bloodworth explains Florida’s requirements for a properly executed will and related issues.

Reed, the managing partner of Bloodworth Law with offices located in Orlando, Florida, and Winter Haven, Florida, celebrates 15 years practicing Florida law.

Requirements for Properly Executed Will

Reed handles probate disputes throughout Florida from Tampa to Daytona, Miami to Pensacola in most cities, counties, and courts.

There are four primary requirements that must be satisfied in order to have a valid will in the State of Florida.  These requirements are:

  • One, the will must be in writing.
  • Two, a properly executed will has to be signed by the testator (the person making the will), or by another person at the testator’s direction and in the presence of the testator.
  • Three, the will must be signed at the end by the testator or another person at the testator’s direction.
  • And Four, a will must be signed in the presence of two witnesses who have to sign in the presence of each other and of the testator.

If these requirements are followed, then a valid Florida will is created. 

What is a Self-Proving Will?

However, If you wish to create a self-proving will, which makes getting the will admitted to probate easier, an additional step is required.  In order to create a self-proving will, the testator and the witnesses must sign the will in the presence of a notary, and the notary will then notarize the signatures on the will.

Beneficiaries Can Be Surprised by a Will

Beneficiaries usually don’t know the contents of a loved one’s will until after a death when the document is shared with family members during probate administration.

Family members can be surprised, hurt, shocked, or feel that some items were not properly passed down or that issues were not carried out in the way that a loved one would have wanted. For example, there may be strangers named as beneficiaries.

Whatever the reason, a review of the will may bring up questions of validity and execution may prove to be invalid.

How Can a Will be Sorted Out?

A probate litigation attorney can assist you in finding answers you have regarding a loved one’s will; including whether or not the will was properly executed. Usually, the testimony of eyewitnesses to the will execution will be heard.

Key Reasons for Questioning a Will

Other reasons for questioning the will may include:

  • Lack of Testamentary Capacity, which requires that the testator was of sound mind when the will was executed. That they were not under medication that affected their judgment or suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s.
  • Undue Influence, which claims the testator was controlled by persuasion or outside influences.
  • Fraud, which includes that the testator was misled into signing the document believing it was something else.
  • Or, duress, which involves a threat of physical harm or pressure to sign the will.

Act Quickly If Questioning a Will

If you believe that a will was improperly executed, or that there are other issues with a will, you must act quickly.  Florida has very short deadlines in which to challenge a will, potentially as short as 20 days.

If you have questions surrounding the execution of a will, talk with an attorney to decide how to resolve what you believe to be improper actions.

While located in Central Florida, the Bloodworth Law team travels to courts, counties, and cities where Florida clients live so that we can handle the most interesting cases.

Again, I’m attorney Reed Bloodworth, the managing partner of Bloodworth Law. If you have issues related to a will or probate dispute, give me a call. Let’s talk about how Bloodworth Law can help you or your family.