Whether you have lived in Florida your entire life or moved here to enjoy your retirement, you need to take the time to ensure that you have a valid estate plan. This provides your heirs the legal basis for passing out your assets in a manner consistent with your wishes. It takes the guesswork out of who gets what. You may find that you can rest a bit easier at night knowing that you have everything planned.
In order to be considered legally valid in this state, your will has to meet certain requirements. Any will that doesn't can be considered invalid by the court, which means your estate would be passed out based on the intestate laws here.
Your will must be written
Florida doesn't recognize verbal wills. This means that you must take the time to get a written will together. While it is possible to handwrite your will, doing this could open it up to being challenged. Holographic wills, which are handwritten notes jotted down, aren't recognized in this state. The exception is if the will is properly executed and written in your own handwriting. In that case, the will would be recognized, but there could be some question about whether it is in your handwriting.
You must meet specific requirements
In order to write a legal will here, you must be either an emancipated minor or at least 18 years old. You must also be of sound mind. This means that you must understand what your will means and the impacts of your decisions. This is one reason why it is imperative for you to write one out right away. You never know what will happen that could make you unable to meet the "sound mind" requirement.
The will must be witnessed
You need to have two witnesses sign your will. They must both be present at the same time with you. Everyone needs to sign the will at this point. You should choose two individuals who don't have any interest in the contents of the document, such as close friends who aren't included in the will.
Remember that your will is only one part of your estate plan. You can use trusts to distribute assets, which might be a good option, especially if you have special circumstances to consider. One example is if you need to care for a person who is receiving need-based assistance. You can also include powers of attorney and other similar documents in your estate plan.