Creating and executing a valid last will and testament is a vitally important act with far-reaching consequences. It is a final gift to loved ones, or it can be a tremendous benefit for a worthwhile charity. More than exercising good intentions, it is essential to draft a will that is legal, proper and thoughtful. The way to ensure that there are fewer or no issues in probate is to execute the will properly.
5 necessary procedures for a valid will
While probate court does allow some leeway, there are certain formalities for validly executing a will here in Florida:
- Put it in writing: The will must be put in writing (and ideally typed). Handwritten wills without witnesses are not valid, nor are oral wills.
- Sign it: The will is usually signed at the end by the testator, but it can also be a person authorized to sign it while in the presence of the testator. If it is not the testator signing, the other person’s name should be next to the signature.
- Get witnesses: There must be two attesting witnesses in the presence of a testator and each other.
- An adult: The testator must be a legal adult or an emancipated minor.
- Free will: The will is invalid if the testator was coerced.
Thorough estate planning makes a difference
Drafting a last will and testament can be complicated even when following the processes outlined above. Not only can an experienced estate law attorney help guide the testator through the process of creating a valid will, but a good legal professional can also anticipate problem areas that will need to be addressed when drafting a will.