Strong estate plans incorporate an array of tools to protect your interests. Insurance plans, trusts and powers of attorney are all important instruments to set up. But a last will and testament is one of the most effective and essential tools for planning how to distribute your assets after you pass.
As the Florida Bar Association explains, each state has laws in place for creating a valid will, and these laws protect your rights from greedy, dishonest or careless relatives. It is essential to follow state law precisely to prevent courts from invalidating your will.
Holographic and Nuncupative wills
While many states recognize nuncupative and holographic wills, Florida does not. Nuncupative wills are wills that you deliver orally. For instance, a testator may verbally explain his wishes to family members on his deathbed. Holographic wills are wills that you write in your own handwriting without the testament of witnesses.
Even in states that recognize nuncupative and holographic wills, these are subject to dispute and may be vulnerable in probate court. But if you live in Florida, you do not have the option to use these wills at all.
Florida will laws
To create a will in Florida, you must be over the age of 18 and of sound mind. You must write your will down and attest to it in the presence of at least two witnesses. These witnesses must sign your will attesting to the fact that they watched you and each other sign. Although Florida does not require it, having a notary verify your will may also lend credibility.
If you later decide to change something in your will, you may do so, but be careful to either recreate your will entirely or establish a codicil. A codicil is an amendment you add as a separate document after the fact. In this case, you would still need to sign and verify the codicil with witnesses. Making edits to your will after you have completed it could render all or part of it invalid.