David Howard Goldberg, P.L.

Wills from other states may be invalid in Florida

Many people across the country find a home in Florida in their later years. The warm climate and friendly tax laws make this state a haven for retirees. However, moving from another state may mean adapting to many changes, including any estate planning decisions someone may have made prior to relocating. Each state has different rules for what makes wills and trusts valid, and those who move to a new state should be sure to learn if those laws require adjustments to their estate plans.

When someone in another state creates a will that complies with the laws of that state, Florida will likely see that will as valid even if the previous state's rules differ. However, Florida does not recognize some kinds of wills that other states accept. For example, someone who moves to Florida with a holographic, or handwritten will, should seek advice from an estate planning attorney because Florida law does not honor holographic wills.

The same is true for nuncupative wills, which are verbal wills declared in front of witnesses who then transcribe the person's wishes and submit them to the court during probate. Nuncupative wills are often created when the person making the will is in imminent danger of death. Even if one's will is valid, it bears reviewing after a move to another state. For instance, in Florida, one's personal representative must be a blood relative or a resident of the state, but that is not uniform in every state. Other provisions in your will may be invalid by Florida law.

As soon as possible after a move to another state, it is wise to seek a review of wills and other estate planning documents by someone who is well-versed in the laws of that state. New residents of Florida may not understand the nuances of estate planning laws here. The assistance of an attorney can provide peace of mind that one's estate plan will serve its purpose without conflict.

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