Every state has unique laws regarding the creation of estate planning documents. Florida is a retirement destination for thousands of older adults, which requires a bit more nuance regarding estate and probate law.
For example, people in many states can add no-contest clauses to their trust documents or wills to prevent their children or other family members from challenging their last wishes. However, such clauses are unenforceable in Florida.
There are also rules that govern specific estate planning documents. A will is the best-known estate planning document and one of the most common. What requirements does Florida law impose for a will to be valid and enforceable?
The testator must sign the document and comply with state law
Florida law is clear that wills require the signature of the testator or person creating the document. In fact, they have to sign the document in front of witnesses. The state requires two competent adult witnesses when a testator signs a will. They will need to be present and may later need to testify about the mental state and identity of the testator.
Additionally, for the will to hold up in Florida court, it must comply with Florida probate laws. Someone who disinherits a spouse, for example, leaves their will open to a challenge that could invalidate the document and result in the court throwing out the estate plan.
Documents beyond simple wills are often necessary
A simple will allows you to designate recipients for specific assets and for the remainder of your property not outlined in detail within the document. A will also gives you an opportunity to name a guardian for your children.
If you want protection in the event of future medical incapacitation, if you worry about your debts or if you think your estate could be subject to estate taxes because it is worth millions of dollars, you might want to add a trust. Powers of attorney and advance medical directives can also be smart inclusions in someone’s estate plan.
Learning about the documents you can add to your estate plan and what Florida law requires regarding those specific documents will help you better protect yourself and your closest family members.