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FAQ Wills in Florida

  1. What are the requirements in Florida for a valid will?

The requirements for a valid will the state of Florida are that the will be in writing, there is no required wording in order for the will to be valid. The testator must sign or direct someone to subscribe their name at the end of the will. It must be witnessed by at least two people who can attest that the testator signed, acknowledged, previously signed, or another person subscribed at the testator’s request. The witnesses must be present when a testator signs the will and must sign the will in the presence of each other. Any codicil to the will must be executed in the same manner in order to be valid as well. The Florida statutes allow any will executed by a nonresident of Florida to be considered valid as long as it is valid in the state it was executed in. The statute also allows any military testamentary instrument by a person eligible for military legal assistance to be valid.

  1. Where should an executed will be kept?

A will should be safeguarded by being placed in a safe or public depository. The executor of the will should be designated to have access to the safe or depository prior to the death of the testator in order to ensure proper distribution of the decedent’s estate.

  1. What happens if a person in your state never gets around to writing a will?

When an individual dies without writing a will there is state is considered intestate. The courts will award the estate in its entirety to the surviving spouse if there are no surviving descendants of the decedent or if the descendants are all related to both decedent and the spouse. If there are descendants who are not also descendants of the surviving spouse or if the surviving spouse has descendants who are not the decedents one half of the estate will go to the surviving spouse.

The intestate estate (or portion) that does not pass to the surviving spouse will be awarded to the descendants of the decedent in this order:

  • To the decedent’s father and mother equally (or to the survivor)
  • To the decedent’s brothers and sisters or to their descendants.
  • If there are no heirs under these guidelines the estate will be divided between the maternal and paternal family beginning with the decedent’s grandparents, aunts and uncles, descendants of deceased aunts and uncles, other kindred, or the kindred of a deceased spouse of the decedent.

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