J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

Local: 863-877-4723
Toll-Free: 888-415-5019

Experienced
Attorney and CPA

What requirements must be followed to execute a will?

Last week, this blog discussed the numerous advantages enjoyed by Florida residents in preparing a will. In addition to creating certainty and reducing potential disputes between family members, the will can also result in potential tax savings or other economic advantages.

Before these advantages can be enjoyed, however, it is essential for the person to properly create a will. While this sounds elementary, it can be surprising how many people may not follow the legal requirements set forth under state law for proper will execution.

One way in which a will can be executed is by being made self-proving. This means the person acknowledges the will before an officer authorized to administer oaths, and witnesses to the will make affidavits before the officer. The officer then must create a certificate attached to the will that evidences the acknowledgement and affidavits.

If the will is self-proving, it can be admitted to probate court without any further proof. Otherwise, the will typically must be proved by the oath of one of the witnesses to the will. These steps are necessary before the will is enforced by the court.

On a more fundamental level, there are basic requirements that must be followed for the will to be valid. For instance, the person making the will has to be at least 18 years old and of sound mind at the time the will is signed. The will itself must be written and witnessed in accordance with Florida law.

These formalities must be followed or the will may not be considered valid by the court. The same is true for any amendments or changes to the will, meaning the will's terms cannot be changed simply by crossing out something after the original execution of the will. Accordingly, individuals should ensure their will is properly executed so it accomplishes the individuals' goals.

Source: Florida Bar, "Do you have a will?," accessed on Nov. 26, 2016

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information