Are Out-of-State Wills Considered in Florida Probate?

By Joseph Nicholson

Out-of-state wills can be filed for consideration in Florida probate court, but they may not always be held valid and enforced. According to the Florida Statutes, the will must be valid according to the state in which it is executed. Additionally, however, Florida does not recognize certain types of wills even if they are valid where executed.

Out-of-state wills can be filed for consideration in Florida probate court, but they may not always be held valid and enforced. According to the Florida Statutes, the will must be valid according to the state in which it is executed. Additionally, however, Florida does not recognize certain types of wills even if they are valid where executed.

Foreign Execution

According to section 732.502(2) of the Florida Statutes, and subject to two exceptions, a will is valid if executed in a foreign state or country if it is valid according to the laws of that state or country. A will by a member of the military who is eligible for military legal assistance, and that is executed in accordance with federal law on military wills, is valid in Florida regardless of where it was executed.

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Holographic Wills

Florida does not recognize holographic wills, or those handwritten by the testator and not witnessed. Some states recognize such wills if the entire will is in the handwriting of the testator and that fact can be authenticated. Florida does not recognize holographic wills under any circumstances, even if the will is recognized in the state where it was executed.

Handwritten, Witnessed Wills

A will that is handwritten, but which otherwise meets the requirements of execution in Florida, is not considered a holographic will under Florida law. Thus, an out-of-state will would not be invalid just because it is handwritten, so long as its validity is not based on recognition of a holographic will in the state where the will was signed.

Nuncupative Wills

The other exception to the general rule on foreign execution is for oral wills, called nuncupative wills. As with holographic wills, Florida does not recognize nuncupative wills under any circumstances, even if the will is valid in the state where it was made. Even in states that recognize oral wills, there are often special required circumstances that justify bypassing the ordinary formalities of a written will.

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What States Accept Holographic Wills?

A holographic -- also called "olographic" in Louisiana -- will is written in the handwriting of the testator, or the person making the will. Not all states recognize a holographic will as valid. The states that do recognize them have differing requirements for what constitutes a proper holographic will. For instance, some states require that the entire will be handwritten, while others require only that "material provisions" be in the testator's handwriting.

Rules for Wills in Florida

The state of Florida governs how a testator may establish and execute a will under the Florida Probate Code. These statutory rules define the guidelines for the format, contents and proofing of a valid will. Testators residing in Florida who do not adhere to these rules while drafting a will face the possibility of having their will partially or entirely voided, which can subject some or all of their estate to state intestate succession guidelines.

Is it Legal to Handwrite a Will in Minnesota if You Get it Notarized?

A handwritten will may also be known as a holographic or olographic will. Some states recognize a handwritten will as valid even if it is not witnessed. In Minnesota, however, all wills must be in writing, signed by the testator and witnessed by at least two people who meet the minimum requirements for witnesses under Minnesota law. Without two witnesses, a handwritten will is not valid even if it is notarized, according to the Minnesota Probate Code.

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