Moving to Florida: Do I Need a New Will?
There are several reasons why you should have a new will drafted when you
establish residency in Florida. The most important reason is that, in
order to be valid in Florida, your will must have been executed in strict
compliance with Florida’s requirements for the execution of a will.
There are only two methods by which a will is considered validly executed
in Florida. One method is that the will has a self-proving affidavit.
A self-proved will may be admitted to probate without further proof of
its execution. The other method is that the will must have been signed
in the presence of two witnesses and a notary, all of whom must sign the
will in the presence of one another.
If your out of state will does not have a self-proving affidavit, at least
one of the witnesses will have to be found to attest to the fact that
they witnessed you signing your will. Trying to track down a witness causes
delay and expense in the probate process. Without a witness or a self-proving
affidavit, the will is invalid and your property will pass according to
Florida’s intestate succession laws without regard to your wishes.
Another important reason for drafting a new will upon relocating to Florida
is Florida’s homestead laws. Florida’s homestead laws restrict
a homeowner’s ability to designate who will receive his homestead
(generally speaking, his full-time residence and any adjoining land) upon
his death. If the homeowner is married or has a minor child, the homestead
can pass only to the surviving spouse unless the spouse has waived her
homestead rights in the property. If there are no minor children or a
surviving spouse, then the homeowner may designate anyone of his choice
to receive the property upon his death. Whatever the case, a will drafted
in another state likely did not take Florida’s homestead protections
into account, and could result in a different distribution of your property
than you had planned.
Another reason to draft a new will upon moving to Florida is Florida’s
laws designating who can serve as the personal representative of an estate.
The personal representative (often referred to as the executor) of an
estate in Florida must be either a relative or a Florida resident. If
the personal representative designated in your current will does not meet
Florida’s qualifications, the court will appoint a personal representative.
This may or may not be someone you know. Having a personal representative
you know better assures that your property will be distributed according
to your wishes.
In sum, there are many important reasons to have a new will drafted when
you move to Florida. You want your property to pass according to your
wishes with as little expense to your estate as possible. Call The Edwards
Law Firm today to obtain a new will that complies with the requirements
of Florida law.
Need to discuss your estate and probate needs?
Contact our team today.
The Edwards Law Firm, PL (941) 363-0110