Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What if my will was written in another state?

By: Attorney Adam A. Czaya

Wills written outside of Florida are valid in here in Florida if they were validly written in that state (or country). Florida, however, does not recognize holographic wills (wills that do not have two witness signatures and the signature of the testator). So you will need to make sure that your will does have two witness signatures and your own signature in order for it to be valid here in Florida.

However, even if your will is valid, you may want to consider re-writing your will now that you're here in the Sunshine State. There are advantages to having a Florida will including that Florida allows the testator to create a separate document that distributes tangible personal property without amending their will. Tangible personal property includes things like fur coats, specific pieces of jewelry, or pieces of art. This is very convenient and many people like the advantage of being able to keep a separate list of these tangible personal property items and who they want to leave them to because the process for updating or changing this list is much simpler than revising your will.

A separate writing is only valid if the document is specifically referred to in the will itself. If your will was written in a state that does not allow the use of the separate tangible personal property list, it will most likely not be referred to in your will and you will not be able to take advantage of this convenient statutory provision. More detailed information regarding the separate memorandum distributing tangible personal property can be found at § 732.515, Florida Statutes. If you're considering updating your last will and testament from Florida or from another state, feel free to call our office and schedule a consultation with me.