Are Holographic Wills Valid In Florida?
Most of the time, people will seek out the help of an attorney when they are drafting their last will and testament. However, there are times when a person simply writes out their last wishes and calls the document their will. Handwritten wills are known as holographic wills, and they are not legal in Florida. In order for the probate courts to enforce a will, it must comply with state law. Below, our St. Petersburg wills lawyer explains further.
The Witness Requirement
Florida law outlines different requirements for wills. Two of the most important of these is that any will must be signed by the testator and two witnesses. The testator must sign the will at the end of the document. Although some testators sign the will and initial each page, this is not required under Florida law. Only a signature at the end of the document is necessary.
There is no age limit on witnesses, but they must see the testator sign the will and they must understand the testator’s intentions and the purpose of the will. The purpose of the witness signatures is to state that the will is real and represents the testator’s wishes. Witnesses are not required to read the will. Under Florida law, if a will is signed by the testator and two witnesses, it is not considered holographic.
It is important to note that even when a holographic will is considered legal in another state and is brought to Florida, it will not be upheld by the probate courts. This is very different from wills that are properly drafted and signed. In these cases, the Florida probate courts will generally enforce a will that was created in another state. The reason holographic wills are not accepted, regardless of where they were created, is because lawmakers are concerned about any undue influence the testator may have been under when drafting a holographic will.
Just as Florida law does not allow for holographic wills, oral or recorded wills are also not permitted. These wills are known as nuncupative wills. Even if a person records their last wishes, the recording will not be accepted as a will. Instead, the person’s estate will be treated as though they passed away without a will, also known as dying intestate. The intestacy laws in Florida dictate how a person’s estate is divided. Generally speaking, the surviving spouse receives the majority of the estate with the remainder being distributed among any children of the deceased.
Our Estate Planning Lawyers in St. Petersburg Can Protect Your Family
Whether you have brought a will from another state, or you have not drafted one yet but want to plan for your future, our St. Petersburg wills lawyers at Legacy Protection Lawyers, LLP, can help. Our seasoned attorneys know what the law requires for these important documents and can draft a will that reflects your last wishes and that protects you and your family. Call us now at 727-471-5868 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation.