J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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How does one execute a will?

Drafting a will is a common step residents in Florida take. Whether it is due to old age, health concerns, to protect your property and assets, because you frequently travel or because you and your spouse have decided to take this precautionary step, creating a will is an important goal. While many may like to put this process off until later in life, it is imperative to understand the basics of this process.

How does one execute a will? First, it is important that a testator, who is the maker of the will, signs and executes only one original copy of the will. Having additional wills could result in complications, such as needing to file all of them with the probate court. Second, the testator needs to sign the end of the will immediately following the text of the will. Any comments following the signature are considered void.

In order to properly execute a will, at least two independent witnesses need to be present. These witnesses cannot have a stake in the distribution of the assets in the will. Additionally, the witnesses should be present to witness the signing of the will and hear that the testator declares it to be their will. The witnesses must also sign the document in the presence of the testator and in the presence of the other witness. A Notary Public must acknowledge all the signatures on the will.

Once a will has been properly executed, it should be kept in a safe location. This location should also be known and accessible to the personal representative. This will help ensure that the will can be found at the time of the testator's death.

Whatever the reason for the will's execution, it is important to understand the basics. This will help you better navigate the process if any complications occur.

Source: Paulsvalleydailydemocrat.com, "The formalities of executing a will," Sept. 21, 2016

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