To be valid, a Last Will and Testament (“Will”) has to comply with a number of “formalities.” One important formality is having (generally) 2 people who witness the signing of the Will.
In today’s post, we’re going to take a brief look at who can witness a Will in Florida.
The Formalities of Creating a Valid Will
The validity of a Will turns on state law. Although there are some general requirements that apply to all Wills, each state has its own requirements and formalities that must be followed for a Will to be declared valid.
Some of the more universal Will formalities include that:
- The testator be of sound mind and understand the nature of his or her property
- The testator be an adult (usually aged 18)
- The Will be in writing
- The Will be witnessed by at least 2 adults in the presence of the testator and of each other.
Will formalities have been around for centuries. Their purpose is to ensure that the testator understands the gravity of what he (or she) is doing. Formalities also “provide the court with reliable evidence of testamentary intent and of the terms of the Will.”
Who Can Witness a Will?
The general requirements as to who may be a witness to a Will in Florida are not very restrictive.
In our state (Florida), anyone who is competent enough to serve as a witness, may be a witness to a Will.
The law does require witnesses to sign the Will in the presence of the testator and of each other.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some states are easing these restrictions or temporarily suspending them or allowing remote witnessing of documents. On July 1, 2020, remote execution of Wills AND electronic Wills both became legal in Florida. Because of the unprecedented nature of the pandemic and the impact it is having on the law, please consult your estates and probate lawyer for more information on this point.
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 SJF Law Group 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 SJF Law Group, 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.