Who Can Witness A Last Will And Testament In Florida?
As you may know, a Last Will and Testament must be signed in front of two witnesses. If no one witnessed the Will or there was only one witness, the document is not valid. Our estate planning attorneys at Legacy Protection Lawyers, LLP, are often asked, “Who can witness the signing of the Will in Florida?”
We decided to address this question to help you understand the formalities of drafting a valid Will in Florida. However, since each case is unique, you may want to schedule a consultation with our St. Petersburg estate planning lawyers to receive expert advice.
The Legal Requirements of Writing a Valid Will in Florida
Florida law imposes strict on writing and executing a Last Will and Testament. Each of the requirements must be followed to ensure the validity of your Will in Florida:
- The Testator (the person creating the Will) must be an adult of sound mind or an emancipated child (Fla. Stat. § 732.501);
- The document must be in writing; and
- The signing of the Will must be witnessed by two competent adults in the presence of the Testator.
If any of the above-mentioned legal requirements are not met, the Will may be deemed invalid. It is advisable to seek the legal counsel of a knowledgeable attorney when drafting a Last Will and Testament in Florida.
Who Can Witness the Signing of a Will in Florida?
But let’s return to our main question here, “Who can witness the signing of a Last Will and Testament?” In short, Florida law states that any adult who is competent to serve as a witness can witness the signing of a Will.
Fla. Stat. § 732.502 also requires witnesses to a Will to sign the document in the presence of the Testator and each other. While Florida law does not require the Testator to notarize the Will for the document to be valid, many choose to do it anyway.
Can a notary serve as the witness to the Will? Yes, a notary can be a witness as long as they sign the document in the presence of the Testator and the second witness.
Can Beneficiaries Serve as Witnesses to a Will?
The short answer is, “Yes, beneficiaries can witness the signing of a Will.” Fla. Stat. § 732.504 provides that the signing of a Last Will and Testament can be witnessed by any individual who is competent to serve as a witness.
The statute also states that a Will or codicil is of value even if the document is signed by an interested witness, including a beneficiary. However, a beneficiary serving as the witness may heighten the risk of Will contests.
Other interested parties may pursue a Will contest action by arguing that the beneficiary who witnessed the signing of the Will had undue influence over the Testator when the document was signed.
Contact our knowledgeable estate planning lawyers if you are not sure who to select to serve as a witness to your Will in Florida. Our attorneys at Legacy Protection Lawyers, LLP, are prepared to help. Call 727-471-5868 today.