What is a "will," and what exactly are the requirements I have to follow to execute a valid will in Florida?

A "will" is a defined term in the Florida Probate Code.  Under §731.201(40) a will "means an instrument, including a codicil, executed by a person in the manner prescribed by this code, which disposes of the person's property on or after his or her death and includes an instrument which merely appoints a personal representative or revokes or revises another will."

Generally, the will execution problems that I see arise when a will is executed by someone other than a licensed attorney.  Given that the procedure to execute a will is also governed by Florida statues, the process is easy if you simply follow it.  Florida statute §732.501 states the following:

 Every will must be in writing and executed as follows:

   (1) (a) Testator's signature.

         1. The testator must sign the will at the end; or

         2. The testator's name must be subscribed at the end of the will by some other person in the testator's presence and by the testator's direction.

      (b)  Witnesses. --The testator's:

         1. Signing, or

         2. Acknowledgment:

            a. That he or she has previously signed the will, or

            b. That another person has subscribed the testator's name to it,

must be in the presence of at least two attesting witnesses.

      (c)  Witnesses' signatures. --The attesting witnesses must sign the will in the presence of the testator and in the presence of each other.

   (2) Any will, other than a holographic or nuncupative will, executed by a nonresident of Florida, either before or after this law takes effect, is valid as a will in this state if valid under the laws of the state or country where the will was executed. A will in the testator's handwriting that has been executed in accordance with subsection (1) shall not be considered a holographic will.

   (3) Any will executed as a military testamentary instrument in accordance with 10 U.S.C. s. 1044d, Chapter 53, by a person who is eligible for military legal assistance is valid as a will in this state.

   (4) No particular form of words is necessary to the validity of a will if it is executed with the formalities required by law.

   (5) A codicil shall be executed with the same formalities as a will.

For more information contact Linde Law Group today.