If you do not want the State of Florida to control how your property will be divided when you pass on, then you must draft a legally-enforceable will. Practically everyone over the age of 18 should have a will in place; the truth is, you never when your time is up. For Florida residents, you must comply with Florida’s Probate code. You must meet certain requirements to draft your will, but aside from those, no specific wording or form is required.
Meet the basic requirements. Florida law requires that you be at least 18 years old and of “sound mind.” People are generally considered to be of sound mind unless a prior legal proceeding has declared them to be incompetent.
Write at the top of your piece of paper (for handwritten wills) or your word processor (for typed wills) a title such as “Last Will of [Your Name].”
Begin the will by writing a statement indicating that you intend to make a will. For example, you could start by writing “I, [Your Name], being of sound mind and understanding the nature of my property and who my heirs are, hereby declare this document to be my will.”
Describe your property and explain who is to inherit it. In Florida, you can make specific devises (such as saying “To [Friend or Family Member’s Name], I give my collection of baseball cards located in the top drawer of my study”) or a general devise (such as saying “I give my entire estate to [Friend or Family Member’s Name]”). For specific devises, describe the property (what it is and where it is located) sufficiently so that no dispute can arise.
Sign and date the will in the presence of two witnesses. Have each witness sign and date the will. The people you choose to be witnesses may be interested or non-interested, meaning that they can be people who are taking under the will or not. Keep the will in a safe place, such as in a safe deposit box at a bank.
- Legal Law Justice image by Stacey Alexander from Fotolia.com