IS A HOLOGRAPHIC WILL VALID IN FLORIDA?

The state of Florida has unusual laws affecting holographic wills. A holographic will, or a last will and testament that has been written out entirely by hand by the testator, may be considered equal to any other will and sent through probate normally, so long as it fulfills the other requirements of Florida law.

Florida requires that a will be signed by the testator and two witnesses in order for it to be valid. The witnesses must be in the presence of the author of the will and each other at the time of signing. Florida probate court will not accept a holographic will that was written by a nonresident, even if it was valid in the state or nation where it was written, unless it was signed by the the testator and two witnesses who were all present at the same time. The law can only recognize holographic wills that conform to this particular directive.

However, there are no other requirements as to language or presentation imposed by law. Although some places in America will not accept a holographic will when there are typed sections or any other deviation from the author’s handwriting, Florida has no such provisions. So long as the testator was of sound mind when they wrote the will, not under duress or undue influence for any reason and compliant with the directive to sign and witness the document properly, the document will be valid

If there are issues involving estate planning and the proper constitution of a last will and testament, then the input of an attorney may be valuable. Even a holographic will may benefit from a constructive review by an attorney as they may be able to help the author avoid small problems that may have serious effects on the administration of their estate.

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Written by Luis E. Barreto

Luis E. Barreto

Luis is a probate and guardianship litigator with over 23 years of experience in the field. Determination of heirs, will contests, breaches of fiduciary duty, removal of personal representatives, guardians and trustees are just some of the types of litigation he addresses. In addition, he administers non-contested estates and guardianships.