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Is my out-of-state will valid in Florida?

Dec 12, 2016 | Estate Planning

Many couples choose to make their home in Florida later in life. However, moving to another state can affect the validity of a will. While many out-of-state wills are not completely invalidated in Florida, differences in estate laws could affect the content of your will and how your property is distributed.

Florida accepts any will as valid if it is valid under the law of the state in which it was executed. If your will was valid in your previous state, it will be valid in Florida too. Military wills are always valid if they follow federal law, regardless of the state you live in.

However, there are a couple exceptions to this rule. Florida never accepts holographic or nuncupative wills. If your will is holographic or nuncupative, you will need to redraft a will in Florida under Florida’s laws to make sure that your will is valid and that your wishes will be upheld.

Just because your will is considered valid in Florida does not mean that it will be executed as you expect. Differences in Florida’s laws could affect how it is interpreted. Here are a few examples of laws that could differ from your previous state’s laws and affect your will:

· In Florida, your personal representative must be related to you by blood and/or be a Florida resident. This means that if the personal representative currently in your will isn’t related to you and doesn’t live in Florida, they will not be recognized when your will is executed.

· Your will is only considered “self-proved” if witnessed and signed by two witnesses and a Notary Public. If it is not self-proved, probate court will have to track down a witness to testify the validity of the will, which can be difficult to do.

Even if your will is technically valid after you move to Florida, it is very important to talk to an experienced Florida estate planning attorney. You want to ensure that nothing in your will has changed and that your will still fully upholds your wishes. If a new will needs to be executed to coincide with Florida law, an attorney can guide you through the process and help you understand everything you should consider.