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What Elements are Needed for a Will to be Valid?

What Elements are Needed for a Will to be Valid? 

A Last Will and Testament is one of the most valuable probate documents you can construct. This document is a formal declaration of your last wishes and written direction for the distribution of property upon your death. Not only will this save your loved ones from expensive probate, but it will also safeguard your legacy from the court’s discretion. Wills are essential to protect your assets, designate a guardian for minor children and assign a personal representative to oversee your final wishes upon death. 

You cannot simply write out your final desires and sign your name. For a Will to be valid, it must be constructed within Florida Law requirements. You may draw up a new will or amend an existing one at any time following the same formalities. In the same respect, you may also revoke a will or codicil at any time. Our experienced attorneys can guide you through the process and ensure all Florida Law requirements are met, safeguarding your legacy from costly probate and contest. 

Florida Requirements

A will is essential at every stage of your life. We recommend reviewing and updating wills & trusts every three to five years or as needed, especially if you have significant life changes such as marriage, divorce, or childbirth. The experienced attorneys at Every & Stack are ready to address any concerns and prepare an estate plan that works for you and your family. Florida has strict formal requirements when constructing a Last Will and Testament. Florida law has no formal language obligation; however, the below requirements are strictly enforced. 

• Wills must be written. 

• The testator (author) must be at least 18 years old. 

• The testator must be of sound mind.

 • The testator must sign the will. 

• A will must be lawfully witnessed & notarized. 

Important Things to Know

• Wills may be changed or added to by the testator at any time or by “Codicil.” 

• A Codicil shall be executed with the same formalities as a will. 

• You must refrain from writing or crossing something out after executing a will. 

• Will become final upon the testator’s death. 

• Wills are “Good” until changed or revoked. 

• Not all personal property can be transferred upon death. 

Additional Estate Planning Documents to Consider

• Living Will 

• Power of Attorney 

• Healthcare Surrogate 

• Pre-need Guardian Designation 

• Trusts 

Every & Stack: Protecting Your Legacy

The experienced attorneys at Every & Stack can advise you on addressing your legacy concerns, including transferring financial and tangible property assets, estate tax avoidance, guardianships for minor children, and support for philanthropic causes. We will draft an estate plan that works for you and protects your legacy—serving clients in Daytona Beach and throughout Florida. Call today to schedule a consultation at our Daytona Beach office at 386-255-1925, or contact us online.

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