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FAQs About Florida Wills


It is a good idea for every Florida to make a last will and testament. Executing a will is not difficult. But it does require following certain legal formalities to protect against possible legal challenges after you die. With that in mind, here are some common questions we get about wills and probate here in Florida.

Who Can Make a Will?

Any person who is at least 18 years old and of “sound mind” can execute a last will and testament.

Does My Will Have to Be Written?

Florida law requires wills to be in writing and signed by you as the testator. Florida probate courts will not accept oral or unwitnessed handwritten wills.

Does My Will Require Witnesses?

Yes. Florida requires all wills be witnessed by at least two witnesses. The witnesses must sign the will in the presence of the testator and each other.

Does My Will Need to Be Notarized?

While not required by Florida law, it is a good idea for the testator and the witnesses to sign the will in the presence of a Notary Public. Notarization makes the will “self-proving.” Essentially, this means the will can be admitted to probate without having to locate either of the witnesses to prove the will’s validity.

Do I Have to Leave Property to My Spouse or Children in My Will?

With respect to adult children, you are not required to leave them any inheritance. You are free to disinherit them if that is your wish. But if you own your primary residence, your spouse and minor children have certain “homestead” rights in the property guaranteed by the Florida Constitution. Your spouse also has a statutory right to claim an “elective share” of your estate unless you have a valid prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement waiving such rights.

Does All of My Property Pass Under My Will?

Not necessarily. A last will and testament only disposes of probate assets. Many people own non-probate assets. This includes any property jointly owned with someone else, property transferred into a trust, and assets subject to a transfer-on-death beneficiary designation (such as a retirement account).

I Already Have a Trust. Do I Still Need a Will?

Yes. Even with a revocable living trust as part of your estate plan, there can still be assets you forget to transfer into the trust. It is therefore common practice to have a “pour-over will” transferring any stray probate assets into the trust upon your death.

Can I Change My Will Later?

Yes. You can revoke or amend a will at any point during your lifetime. Upon your death, however, the will becomes final and irrevocable.

Contact Mark R. Manceri, P.A., Today

Even when a person dies leaving a will, there may be legal questions or challenges to that document. An experienced Pompano Beach estate and trust litigation lawyer can review the matter and advise you of your options as an interested party. Contact the offices of Mark R. Manceri, P.A., at 954-491-7099 today to schedule a consultation.

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