David Howard Goldberg, P.L.

Wills may not be valid after relocating to Florida

For many people, retiring to Florida is a goal and one that takes many years of planning to achieve. It stands to reason that some who relocate to Florida will already have other plans in place as well, such as their wills and other components of an estate plan. While many wills do transfer validly to Florida, there are some reasons why one's will may not stand in the Sunshine State.

A Florida transplant may have a written will that complies with the laws of his or her former state, such as having a certain number of witnesses. In many cases, Florida will accept that will as valid even if the requirements of the previous state are different from those of Florida. However, certain elements of the will may become void once someone moves to Florida. A personal representative who is not a blood relative or related by marriage may be acceptable in other states, but Florida probate courts will not honor that designation unless the specified representative is a Florida resident.

In addition, someone from another state who has created a holographic will, which is entirely handwritten, or an oral will, even one on videotape, would be wise to consult with an attorney in this state. It may be difficult to convince a Florida probate court to accept such a will from another state. In fact, Florida law explicitly forbids holographic and oral wills

When moving to a new state, it is always smart to learn as much as possible about the estate planning laws of one's new home. Each state has its laws, and certain elements can quickly invalidate a will that was valid in another state. Speaking with a Florida attorney as early as possible after relocation is one way to avoid leaving loved ones with confusion and frustration during probate.

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