Florida Last Will and Testament Law

Wills and Estates – Last Will and Testament Law – Florida

This law summary is not intended to be all inclusive of the law of wills in Florida. However, it does contain a summary of many of the material Florida law requirements.

Who may make a will: Any person 18 or more years of age who is of sound mind may make a will. 732.501

Execution of wills: Every will must be in writing and executed by the testator at the end of the will and witnessed by two or more witnesses.  The attesting witnesses must sign the will in the presence of the testator and in the presence of each other. 732.502

Execution in Another State: Any will, other than a holographic or nuncupative will, executed by a nonresident of Florida, is valid as a will in this state if valid under the laws of the state or country where the testator was at the time of execution. 732.502

Validity: No particular form of words is necessary to the validity of a will if it is executed with the formalities required by law. 732.502

Codicils: A codicil shall be executed with the same formalities as a will. 732.502

Self-proof of will: A will or codicil executed in conformity with the requirements above may be made self-proved at the time of its execution or at any subsequent date by the acknowledgment of it by the testator and the affidavits of the witnesses, each made before an officer authorized to administer oaths and evidenced by the officer’s certificate attached to or following the will in the required form. The Will available for downloading is a Self-Proving Will. 732.503

Who may witness: Any person competent to be a witness may act as a witness to a will.  A will or codicil, or any part of either, is not invalid because the will or codicil is signed by an interested witness. 732.504

Revocation by writing: A will or codicil, or any part of either, is revoked by a subsequent inconsistent will or codicil, even though the subsequent inconsistent will or codicil does not expressly revoke all previous wills or codicils, but the revocation extends only so far as the inconsistency exists, or by a subsequent written will, codicil, or other writing declaring the revocation, if the same formalities required for the execution of wills are observed in the execution of the will, codicil, or other writing. 732.505

Revocation by act: A will or codicil is revoked by the testator, or some other person in the testator’s presence and at the testator’s direction, by burning, tearing, canceling, defacing, obliterating, or destroying it with the intent, and for the purpose, of revocation. 732.506

Effect of subsequent marriage, birth, or dissolution of marriage: Neither subsequent marriage nor subsequent marriage and birth or adoption of lineal descendants shall revoke the prior will of any person, but the pretermitted child or spouse shall inherit as otherwise provided by law, regardless of the prior will.  Any provision of a will executed by a married person that affects the spouse of that person shall become void upon the divorce of that person or upon the dissolution or annulment of the marriage. After the dissolution, divorce, or annulment, the will shall be administered and construed as if the former spouse had died at the time of the dissolution, divorce, or annulment of the marriage, unless the will or the dissolution or divorce judgment expressly provides otherwise. 732.507

Revocation of codicil: The revocation of a will revokes all codicils to that will. 732.507

Devises to trustee: A valid devise may be made to the trustee of a trust that is evidenced by a written instrument in existence at the time of making the will, or by a written instrument subscribed concurrently with making of the will, if the written instrument is identified in the will. 732.513

Separate writing identifying devises of tangible property: A will may refer to a written statement or list to dispose of items of tangible personal property not otherwise specifically disposed of by the will, other than money and property used in trade or business. To be admissible under this section as evidence of the intended disposition, the writing must be signed by the testator and must describe the items and the devisees with reasonable certainty. The writing may be referred to as one in existence at the time of the testator’s death. It may be prepared before or after the execution of the will. It may be altered by the testator after its preparation. It may be a writing that has no significance apart from its effect upon the dispositions made by the will.  If more than one otherwise effective writing exists, then, to the extent of any conflict among the writings, the provisions of the most recent writing revoke the inconsistent provisions of each prior writing. 732.515

Penalty clause for contest: A provision in a will purporting to penalize any interested person for contesting the will or instituting other proceedings relating to the estate is unenforceable. 732.517

Inside Florida Last Will and Testament Law