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.
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.
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.
Read More: States Where Holographic Wills Are Legal
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.
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.
Joseph Nicholson is an independent analyst whose publishing achievements include a cover feature for "Futures Magazine" and a recurring column in the monthly newsletter of a private mint. He received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Florida and is currently attending law school in San Francisco.