J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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What are the requirements for creating a valid will in Florida?

A person who creates a will is known in Florida as the testator. A will is a testamentary device that provides directions as to how the testator's property should be distributed after he or she dies. In the event the testator has small children he or she may also nominate a guardian for their care should the testator die before the kids reach the age of majority. In order for a will to be enforceable upon the testator's death it must be properly executed. A will that is not properly executed can be set aside by the probate court.

In order for a will to be valid and enforceable after a person's death it must meet several requirements in terms of its format and execution. In Florida a will must be written in order to be valid. Adults who lack the mental ability to understand the ramifications of creating wills may not have the requisite testamentary capacity to prepare a valid will. Finally, in Florida all wills must be signed in the presence of two witnesses, who must also sign the will.

If a will is thrown out by a probate court for failing in one of the above-mentioned requirements the person may be considered to have died intestate or without a will. Florida's intestacy laws govern how property should be distributed to the decedent's surviving relatives. Since most people prefer to dictate where and to whom their property should go it is best to follow the rules of creating valid and enforceable wills.

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