What are the Requirements for a Valid Will?
Although no one likes to think about what will happen when they die, being prepared for death can make all the difference for your loved ones. The best way you can prepare is by having a will. A will is a legal document that specifies exactly how an individual’s assets, such as money, property, and stocks, will be dealt with after their death. Often a will states which family member or friends will receive which assets. In Florida, for a will to be valid it must be in writing, signed by the party seeking to create the will (the testator), the testator must have the mental competence to sign the will, and it must be signed by two witnesses to the execution of the will.
What is a Self-Proving Will & Why Is a Self-Proving Will Important?
While the requirements for creating a valid will are not complicated, adding an additional component to your will can make the process even easier for those set to inherit your assets after your passing. Florida Statute 732.503 allows testators to add an affidavit to the end of their will to affirm that they want their property divided in the manner described after their death. If this affidavit is included, then the will is considered authentic and can be admitted to probate without further proof. In our following blog post, we discuss the problems your family will encounter if you have no will or your will is not self-proving.
How Do I Make My Will A Self-Proving Will?
To create a self-proving will, a testator must have two impartial witnesses and a notary present when he or she signs the will and affidavit. The affidavit must contain specific language to satisfy the Florida Statute. All parties must sign together, and the witnesses must take an oath that they watched the testator sign the affidavit. The notary then will notarize the document.
Can I Write My Own Self-Proving Will?
While there are plenty of “fill-in” forms that will allow you to write your own self-proving affidavit, this carries a major risk. Florida Statute 732.503 requires precise language for a will to be held as self-proving. In order to protect your loved ones from additional costs and frustration it is best to hire an attorney to review your will.