Compared to other states, Florida has stringent requirements for signing a Will. A valid will requires the signature of the person who made the will, plus the signatures of at least two witnesses. All three must sign in each other’s presence. This means that they have to be in the
same room, at the same time and see each other signing the document. Although not required, it is good practice for the will to be “self-proved,” which means a notary public (this person cannot be one of the witnesses) is also present and verifies the identity of the person making the will and the two witnesses.
Although not required under statute, the witnesses should be “disinterested.” A person is considered “interested” if she or her may reasonably be expected by the outcome of the proceeding. Generally, a witness is considered “interested” if the witness is mentioned in the will or if there is the possibility the witness will receive a distribution. Having disinterested witnesses is important because if the original of the will cannot be located, to establish the will and admit it to the probate court, Florida requires the testimony of one disinterested witness. Furthermore, an interested witness might invite future litigation, such as a will contest.
There are a few exceptions, such as for out-of-state wills and military testamentary instruments, but certain requirements must be met. If you have any questions about the validity of your will, please contact our team.