Florida and holographic wills

There are many different kinds of wills and estate plans which will be honored by the courts, and each state has its own laws determining what it may or may not accept as valid. When it comes to the matter of holographic wills, the law is Florida is slightly more complex than it seems at first.

Traditionally, a holographic is defined as a will that has been entirely handwritten by the testator, or creator of the will, and signed. Most jurisdictions that recognize holographic wills require several elements to be in place and properly executed. It must be provable that the will was personally created by the testator and not a forgery, the testator must have had the intellectual capacity to actually write the will (although this is generally assumed to be true), and the will must express the desire to distribute property to specific individuals.

At first glance, it seems as though Florida’s laws make the nature of a holographic will completely irrelevant, because Florida does not recognize holographic or honor their direction. However, there is a twist — if a will has been written in the testator’s own handwriting, but is properly executed according to Florida statutes, then it is no longer considered a holographic will.

It’s easy to see how the intricacies of state laws can be confusing, which is why experienced guidance is exceptionally important when it comes to legal matters. For anyone who wants to make sure that they are operating within the accepted guidelines of federal and state estate laws, the assistance of an experienced attorney can help ensure that your rights remain protected while you navigate tricky legal matters.

Source: Findlaw, “Florida Wills Laws,” accessed Oct. 14, 2016

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