I just moved to Florida; is my Will still valid?

A Will executed in another state, sometimes referred to as a “foreign will”, could be valid if it was validly executed under the laws of the other state (Fl. Stat. 732.502(2)). Therefore, the answer to this question could be partially dependent on the state in which you previously lived.

One exception is a holographic Will, which is a handwritten Will that lacks witnesses or a notary. Such a Will is never valid in Florida, even if holographic Wills are recognized under the laws of another state (Fl. Stat. 732.5032(2)).

Many times, it is not a question of whether the foreign Will is valid, it’s a question of whether it is sufficient to meet your intent given Florida laws. For example, a Will in Florida should ideally be signed by two witnesses and it should be self-proving so it is easier to probate. Property laws could differ in Florida from your previous state, your nominated personal representative could not be qualified to serve in Florida, or your estate plan could be structured in a way to avoid probate, just to name a few scenarios.

Although this blog addressed Wills specifically, this information is also true for other estate planning documents, such as powers of attorney and health care advance directives. Your estate plan should be updated with every major life event, including relocation.

The Elder Law Firm of Clements & Wallace, P.L. has extensive experience in estate planning. Contact our elder law attorneys for an appointment to answer your questions about updating your estate plan.