How can my parent make a valid will?

Creating a will in Florida is one of the most important things your parent can do. A will allows your parent to make choices regarding property distribution after his or her death. It also allows your parent to name a guardian for minor children and appoint a personal representative of his or her estate.

If your parent dies without a will, state intestacy laws will determine these outcomes instead. But there are certain requirements for ensuring a will is valid.

Creation and execution requirements

 According to the Florida Probate Code, the following must be true for your parent to make a legally enforceable will:

  • Your parent must be of sound mind.
  • Your parent must sign the document in the presence of two credible witnesses.
  • The two witnesses must then sign the document in the presence of one another and your parent.

There are two types of wills that are not valid under Florida law: nuncupative and holographic wills. Nuncupative wills are oral and holographic wills are handwritten without witnesses. Florida probate courts do not uphold these wills.

Self-proving with a notary

 Florida law does not require self-proof of a will but does allow it. In order for your parent to self-prove his or her will, a notary must sign an affidavit along with your parent and the witnesses.

When a will is void

 If the will is executed by fraud, mistake, duress or undue influence, it is void. Any portion of the will is procured if it is created in such a fashion, but other portions may still be valid.