In Florida, for a Last Will and Testament (“Will”) to be valid, it must comply with certain legal formalities.
The necessary legal formalities vary from state to state, but generally they prescribe the way in which a Will must be signed, executed, witnessed and published.
Having specific Will formalities provides safeguards for ensuring that a Will properly reflects the desires and intentions of the testator (i.e., the person making the Will) and the disposal of his/her property.
In Florida, Will formalities include that the Will be in writing and that the testator make the Will freely and voluntarily. Clearly, if a Will is made under duress or as the result of undue influence, it is not a valid Will.
Florida’s formalities also require that the Will be properly signed and witnessed.
The statute requires the testator (or testatrix) to sign his/her Will in the presence of 2 competent witnesses. And it requires the witnesses to sign their names in the presence of each other and the testator.
A final critical factor for a Will to be valid in Florida, is that the testator/testatrix sign his/her name at the end of the Will.
If any of these procedures are not followed properly—even if it is only one which was done incorrectly—the Will is going to be invalid and your property will pass through intestacy. That is why it is important to always consult with an experienced estate and probate lawyer who practices in Florida.
What Constitutes a Valid Signature for Your Will?
Do you need to have a flourishing “John Hancock” for your Will signature to be valid?
Of course, you, as the maker of the Will, must sign it. But as long as you intend it to be your signature, any sort of mark will do.
You can use an “X.”
You can use a thumbprint.
You can even direct someone else to write your name for you.
Any of these will work…
AS LONG AS…
you intend it to be your signature.
And, in Florida, as long as your signature appears at the end—not the beginning or the middle or somewhere on the side—of the Will.
Protecting Your Family is Just a Phone Call Away.
Don’t leave planning for your future and that of your loved ones to chance. All it takes is one phone call to the Law Offices of Samantha J. Fitzgerald to ensure that your wishes will be followed, and your loved ones taken care of when you are gone. We expertly guide individuals through the complex probate process, and capably handle all aspects of the creation, administration, and settlement of trusts as well. When you work with the estate planning attorneys at the Law Offices of Samantha J. Fitzgerald, you get more than just an estate plan: you get peace of mind. Call us at 954-580-3690 or email us at: [email protected] today.