How to make a will in Florida

A guide to Florida probate laws.

Elissa

Elissa Suh

Published June 12, 2020

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Who can write a will in Florida?

Anyone who is at least 18 years old or an emancipated minor, if they are of “sound mind,” can write a will in Florida.

What are the requirements for witnessing a will in Florida?

Every will must be signed by two witnesses. Additionally, the two witnesses must sign the will together in the presence of the testator.

Can witnesses be beneficiaries of the will in Florida?

Yes, but there is precedence for contesting the will if you use an interested witness, since it might be found that they had undue influence on the testator.

What are the requirements for nominating an executor in Florida?

  • Age of executor: At least 18 years old (Floriday's age of majority)
  • Cannot be a convicted felon, or mentally or physically unable to perform duties
  • Out-of-state executors are allowed in certain circumstances, such as when they are related to the testator

Can you create a holographic will in Florida?

In Florida, handwritten wills are only valid if they are properly witnessed. While a will made in another state is valid in Florida if it follows the other state’s laws, holographic wills from other states are not recognized in Florida even if the other state allows them.

Is Florida a community property state?

No, Florida is not a community property state.

In a community property state, each spouse has an equal share of property acquired during the marriage. Property acquired before the marriage is considered separate property.

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Laws of intestacy in Florida

In Florida, when there is no will, the court will determine who receives the intestate estate based on the laws of intestate succession.

This is how much a surviving spouse receives in a few different circumstances:

If the decedent is survived by a spouse and:Surviving spouse's share
No childrenEverything
Children from the surviving spouseEverything
Children who are not descendants of the surviving spouse1/2 of the intestate estate
Children from the surviving spouse, and stepchildren (surviving spouse's children only)1/2 of the intestate estate

Otherwise, when there is no surviving spouse, then the intestate estate will pass along in the following order.

  • Children, or their children
  • Parents
  • Siblings of the decedent, or their children
  • Grandparents, or uncles and aunts
  • Descendants of a predeceased spouse
  • Descendants of any great-grandparent if they were victims of the Holocaust

For someone to receive the estate, there must not be anyone left in the category above them. If an inheritor is dead, then their share typically passes to their children by a per stirpes designation.

Filing the will in Florida

After the testator dies, the will must be filed within ten days of knowledge of the death, at the circuit court in the county where the decedent lived.

Estate administration without probate in Florida:

In Florida, summary probate is allowed when the estate value is less than $75,000, less any creditor judgements, or if it has been more than two years since the decedent died.

Additionally, formal administration may not be needed when there is no real property, and the decedent’s estate includes only the following assets: two vehicles, household furnishings less than $20,000 in value, personal assets less than $1,000 in value, qualified tuition funds, and teacher benefits.

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About the author

Personal Finance Editor

Elissa Suh

Personal Finance Editor

Elissa is a personal finance editor at Policygenius in New York City. She writes about estate planning, mortgages, and occasionally health insurance. In the past she has written about film and music.

Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.

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