Does A Florida Will Need to Be Notarized? Statute of Wills Requirements Florida
Although this article will be in the range of 500 words, or thereabouts, I have a one word answer to the question a client recently asked me, “Does a Florida will need to be notarized?” According to the Statute of Wills requirements Florida, a Florida will absolutely needs to be notarized, YES! In fact, even the notarization of a Florida will has certain protocols and requirements that must be observed, or else your will could be invalid. It may seem absurd, on the surface, that a bad job of notarizing (meaning just the absence of notarization, or not following proper notarization requirements under Florida law) might cause a will to be invalid. However, the truth of the matter is the notarization process is actually in place to protect the testator (will-maker) from fraud, fraud in the inducement, undue influence, and theft (among other some such protections). Knowing that Florida law is designed to ensure the accuracy of creation and safeguarding of a will’s provisions should give you confidence going forward with the sometimes challenging process. Jonathan Jacobs is a Lake County Florida probate attorney and Orange County Florida probate attorney.
The According to the Statute of Wills requirements Florida provides that a Florida notary may lawfully only notarize a Florida will (or other legal documents) if the party signing (the testator) is present, of sound mind, and produces identification. The notary must indicate if the signer is personally known to her, or if the signer has produced sufficient identification. This is really basic notarization 101, but it still applies to Florida wills for the reasons referred to above. The courts take these requirements seriously and they must be sacrosanct. This is yet another reason (among so many other reasons) to hire a Lake County Florida probate attorney or an Orange County Florida probate attorney. Your attorney will ensure that the maker/signer or the Florida will is competent, of sound mind, or even consider sending the testator out for an independent medical assessment to ensure the authenticity and lawfulness of the will. Signs of dementia and symptoms of elderly age need to be evaluated. The purpose of this process is estate planning. In order to plan, careful preparation must be observed. This process is about intent, thoughtfulness and timely preparation.
Lake County Florida Probate Attorney | Orange County Florida Probate Attorney
Pursuant to the Statute of Wills requirements Florida, other protocols must be observed. For instance, according to Florida Statutory law, the testator (again, this is legalese for will maker) must sign at the end of the will document, and there must be two subscribing/attesting witnesses signing not only in each other’s presence, but also in the testator’s presence, and vice versa. Think of this as a team effort to reduce any risk of tampering or inaccuracy. Do not abuse this process because it will cast aspersions on your will. Let’s return to our original question, does a Florida will need to be notarized? If Florida law explicitly indicates that certain formalities must be observed for the process to run as smoothly as possible, follow those instructions to the very last detail. If I have not made the point abundantly clear, this is why you should hire the Jacobs Law Firm, or another Lake County Florida probate attorney or an Orange County Florida probate attorney to assist you in this labyrinthine process.