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What Is A Separate Writing When Creating A Will In Florida?


Often, estate planning lawyers tell clients to use a separate writing when creating a Last Will and Testament. The separate writing is used to list the Testator’s tangible personal property and identify the beneficiaries who will receive the items after the Testator’s passing.

Speak with our St. Petersburg estate planning lawyers at Legacy Protection Lawyers, LLP, to determine whether or not you need a separate writing when drafting your Will and find out how to create a valid separate writing in Florida.

How Does Florida Law Define a Separate Writing?

Under Fla. Stat. § 732.515, a separate writing is a written statement that lists the Testator’s personal items and identifies the beneficiaries who will receive the items upon the Testator’s death. The Testator’s tangible personal property does not include property used in business or trade. A separate writing is kept with the Testator’s Will.

What Types of Property Can Be Listed in a Separate Writing?

In Florida, the Testator can use a separate writing to list any tangible personal items they own. Those items cannot include items used for business or trade. The word tangible refers to any property items that can be touched and moved. Tangible personal property that can be listed in a separate writing include:

  • Artwork
  • Collectibles
  • Furniture
  • Household goods
  • Jewelry
  • Equipment
  • Other physical items

Land, investments, and money cannot be included in a separate writing when creating a Will in Florida. The Testator cannot list any real property, such as their home or apartment, when creating a separate writing. Even if the real property appears on the list in a separate writing, it will not be valid.

When Do You Need a Separate Writing When Creating a Will?

The best thing about using a separate writing when creating a Will in Florida is that you can prevent unnecessary conflict and disagreements between beneficiaries by identifying how personal items would be distributed to the beneficiaries upon your death. Thus, having a separate writing can minimize conflict during the probate or help avoid the probate altogether.

How to Create a Valid Separate Writing in Florida

When creating a separate writing for your Last Will and Testament, you need to make sure that the legal document is valid. Florida law has three legal requirements for making a valid separate writing:

  1. The separate writing must be in writing;
  2. The document must be signed by the Testator
  3. The Testator must clearly describe their personal items and list the beneficiaries who will receive the items with reasonable certainty

It is advisable to seek the legal counsel of an experienced estate planning attorney to help you create a separate writing and ensure that the document is valid.

Can You Change a Separate Writing?

Contrary to popular belief, you can change a separate writing once you create one. Florida law explicitly states that the Testator may alter a separate writing after its preparation. If you need assistance with creating or changing a separate writing in Florida, contact our attorneys at Legacy Protection Lawyers, LLP. Call 727-471-5868 for a case evaluation.



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