What is a Holographic Will and is it Valid in Florida?
As defined by Investopedia, a holographic will is a handwritten will that is simply signed by the testator. A testator is a legal term that refers to the person who makes the will. In some states, holographic wills are not valid. In other states, holographic wills can be valid—but only if specific criteria are satisfied.
How does the law work In Florida? In our state, holographic wills are not valid unless they are properly executed—meaning they must be both signed and witnessed. In this post, our Tampa will & trust attorneys provide a basic overview of the rules and procedures governing handwritten wills in Florida.
Florida Law: Creating a Valid Will
Technically, a handwritten will can be legally valid in Florida. Under state law (Florida Statutes § 732.502), there is no requirement that a will must be printed in order to be valid. That being said, you cannot write your own will, stick it in your desk drawer, and rely on it to protect your estate and your loved ones. A will is only valid if it has been properly executed in accordance with Florida law. There are three primary requirements of a will:
- The document must be in writing—videos and audio recordings are never valid;
- The will must be signed by the testator; and
- The will must have been signed in the presence of at least two witnesses.
Without witnesses, a signed handwritten will has not been executed. Indeed, both witnesses are supposed to sign the document—attesting to the fact that they observed the testator confirmed the validity of the document in the presence of each other.
Protect Your Loved Ones: An Estate Planning Attorney Can Draft a Valid Will
In far too many cases, people pass away with wills that, for one reason or another, are deemed defective by probate courts. No one wants to leave their family and friends with this type of confusion and stress. Relying on a handwritten will—even if you have witnesses—can create serious problems. By working with a professional, you make things easier for your family.
It is a best practice to consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer who can draft a legally valid will that achieves your objectives. Remember, the requirements listed above are simply the necessary steps that you need to take to ensure that Florida law will recognize the document as valid. They do not speak to the actual contents of the will itself. With a professionally drafted will, you can get peace of mind knowing that your final wishes will be respected.
Contact Our Tampa, FL Estate Planning Lawyers for Assistance
At Bubley & Bubley, P.A., our Hillsborough County estate planning attorneys are skilled, diligent advocates for clients. If you have any questions about wills, we are available to offer support.
To schedule a completely confidential review of your case, please contact our law firm right away. We represent clients throughout the region, including in Tampa, Carrollwood, Valrico, Riverview, Keystone, and Westchase.