If assets are held inside of your Florida estate at the time of your death, the estate will need to go through probate. The primary purpose of probate is to determine if you have a valid will. In the event that the will is valid, assets will be distributed according to its instructions. Otherwise, they will likely be distributed in accordance with state law.
You must generally sign your will in front of witnesses
In the state of Florida, you must sign your will in the presence of two people who are of sound mind. Furthermore, the witnesses must also sign the will in front of each other. Generally speaking, a will that lacks a signature will not be considered valid by a probate judge.
What happens if the witnesses cannot be found?
In some cases, the individuals who witnessed your signature will need to appear at the probate proceeding. However, if they are not available, it may be possible to verify a will by locating other people who can verify that your signature appears on the document in question. If you don’t sign your will, it may be difficult to verify that it reflects your true wishes in the event that a witness cannot be located.
It may be possible to have a will notarized
Most states allow you to notarize a will, and by doing so, the document is considered to be self-proving. In other words, the presence of the document itself is proof that it is a valid document that should be accepted by a probate judge. It may be possible to add a self-proving codicil to an original will to make it easier to enforce. An estate planning attorney may be able to talk more about the potential benefits of notarizing estate plan documents.
If you have any concerns about your estate plan, it may be a good idea to talk to an attorney. They may be able to review a will, trust or other documents to determine if they adhere to existing state law.