Last Will and Testament Under Florida’s Probate Statute
732.501 Who may make a will.
732.502 Execution of wills.
732.503 Self-proof of will.
732.504 Who may witness.
732.505 Revocation by writing.
732.506 Revocation by act.
732.507 Effect of subsequent marriage, birth, adoption, or dissolution of marriage.
732.508 Revival by revocation.
732.509 Revocation of codicil.
732.5105 Republication of wills by codicil.
732.511 Republication of wills by reexecution.
732.512 Incorporation by reference.
732.513 Devises to trustee.
732.514 Vesting of devises.
732.515 Separate writing identifying devises of tangible property.
732.5165 Effect of fraud, duress, mistake, and undue influence.
732.517 Penalty clause for contest.
732.518 Will contests.
732.501 Who may make a will.—Any person who is of sound mind and who is either 18 or more years of age or an emancipated minor may make a will.
732.502 Execution of wills.—Every will must be in writing and executed as follows:
(1)(a) Testator’s signature.—
1. The testator must sign the will at the end; or
2. The testator’s name must be subscribed at the end of the will by some other person in the testator’s presence and by the testator’s direction.
(b) Witnesses.—The testator’s:
1. Signing, or
a. That he or she has previously signed the will, or
b. That another person has subscribed the testator’s name to it,
must be in the presence of at least two attesting witnesses.
(c) Witnesses’ signatures.—The attesting witnesses must sign the will in the presence of the testator and in the presence of each other.
(2) Any will, other than a holographic or nuncupative will, executed by a nonresident of Florida, either before or after this law takes effect, is valid as a will in this state if valid under the laws of the state or country where the will was executed. A will in the testator’s handwriting that has been executed in accordance with subsection (1) shall not be considered a holographic will.
(3) Any will executed as a military testamentary instrument in accordance with 10 U.S.C. s. 1044d, Chapter 53, by a person who is eligible for military legal assistance is valid as a will in this state.
(4) No particular form of words is necessary to the validity of a will if it is executed with the formalities required by law.
(5) A codicil shall be executed with the same formalities as a will.
732.503 Self-proof of will.—
(1) A will or codicil executed in conformity with s. 732.502 may be made self-proved at the time of its execution or at any subsequent date by the acknowledgment of it by the testator and the affidavits of the witnesses, made before an officer authorized to administer oaths and evidenced by the officer’s certificate attached to or following the will, in substantially the following form:
STATE OF FLORIDA
I, , declare to the officer taking my acknowledgment of this instrument, and to the subscribing witnesses, that I signed this instrument as my will.
We, and , have been sworn by the officer signing below, and declare to that officer on our oaths that the testator declared the instrument to be the testator’s will and signed it in our presence and that we each signed the instrument as a witness in the presence of the testator and of each other.
Acknowledged and subscribed before me by the testator, (type or print testator’s name), who is personally known to me or who has produced (state type of identification—see s. 117.05(5)(b)2.) as identification, and sworn to and subscribed before me by the witnesses, (type or print name of first witness) who is personally known to me or who has produced (state type of identification—see s. 117.05(5)(b)2.) as identification and (type or print name of second witness) who is personally known to me or who has produced (state type of identification—see s. 117.05(5)(b)2.) as identification, and subscribed by me in the presence of the testator and the subscribing witnesses, all on (date).
(Signature of Officer)
(Print, type, or stamp commissioned name and affix official seal)
(2) A will or codicil made self-proved under former law, or executed in another state and made self-proved under the laws of that state, shall be considered as self-proved under this section.
732.504 Who may witness.—
(1) Any person competent to be a witness may act as a witness to a will.
(2) A will or codicil, or any part of either, is not invalid because the will or codicil is signed by an interested witness.
732.505 Revocation by writing.—A will or codicil, or any part of either, is revoked:
(1) By a subsequent inconsistent will or codicil, even though the subsequent inconsistent will or codicil does not expressly revoke all previous wills or codicils, but the revocation extends only so far as the inconsistency.
(2) By a subsequent will, codicil, or other writing executed with the same formalities required for the execution of wills declaring the revocation.
732.506 Revocation by act.—A will or codicil is revoked by the testator, or some other person in the testator’s presence and at the testator’s direction, by burning, tearing, canceling, defacing, obliterating, or destroying it with the intent, and for the purpose, of revocation.
732.507 Effect of subsequent marriage, birth, adoption, or dissolution of marriage.—
(1) Neither subsequent marriage, birth, nor adoption of descendants shall revoke the prior will of any person, but the pretermitted child or spouse shall inherit as set forth in ss. 732.301 and 732.302, regardless of the prior will.
(2) Any provision of a will executed by a married person that affects the spouse of that person shall become void upon the divorce of that person or upon the dissolution or annulment of the marriage. After the dissolution, divorce, or annulment, the will shall be administered and construed as if the former spouse had died at the time of the dissolution, divorce, or annulment of the marriage, unless the will or the dissolution or divorce judgment expressly provides otherwise.
732.508 Revival by revocation.—
(1) The revocation by the testator of a will that revokes a former will shall not revive the former will, even though the former will is in existence at the date of the revocation of the subsequent will.
(2) The revocation of a codicil to a will does not revoke the will, and, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, it shall be presumed that in revoking the codicil the testator intended to reinstate the provisions of a will or codicil that were changed or revoked by the revoked codicil, as if the revoked codicil had never been executed.
732.509 Revocation of codicil.—The revocation of a will revokes all codicils to that will.
732.5105 Republication of wills by codicil.—The execution of a codicil referring to a previous will has the effect of republishing the will as modified by the codicil.
732.511 Republication of wills by reexecution.—If a will has been revoked or if it is invalid for any other reason, it may be republished and made valid by its reexecution or the execution of a codicil republishing it with the formalities required by this law for the execution of wills.
732.512 Incorporation by reference.—
(1) A writing in existence when a will is executed may be incorporated by reference if the language of the will manifests this intent and describes the writing sufficiently to permit its identification.
(2) A will may dispose of property by reference to acts and events which have significance apart from their effect upon the dispositions made by the will, whether they occur before or after the execution of the will or before or after the testator’s death. The execution or revocation of a will or trust by another person is such an event.
732.513 Devises to trustee.—
(1) A valid devise may be made to the trustee of a trust that is evidenced by a written instrument in existence at the time of making the will, or by a written instrument subscribed concurrently with making of the will, if the written instrument is identified in the will.
(2) The devise shall not be invalid for any or all of the following reasons:
(a) Because the trust is amendable or revocable, or both, by any person.
(b) Because the trust has been amended or revoked in part after execution of the will or a codicil to it.
(c) Because the only res of the trust is the possible expectancy of receiving, as a named beneficiary, a devise under a will or death benefits as described in s. 733.808, and even though the testator or other person has reserved any or all rights of ownership in the death benefit policy, contract, or plan, including the right to change the beneficiary.
(d) Because of any of the provisions of s. 689.075.
(3) The devise shall dispose of property under the terms of the instrument that created the trust as previously or subsequently amended.
(4) An entire revocation of the trust by an instrument in writing before the testator’s death shall invalidate the devise or bequest.
(5) Unless the will provides otherwise, the property devised shall not be held under a testamentary trust of the testator but shall become a part of the principal of the trust to which it is devised.
732.514 Vesting of devises.—The death of the testator is the event that vests the right to devises unless the testator in the will has provided that some other event must happen before a devise vests.
732.515 Separate writing identifying devises of tangible property.—A written statement or list referred to in the decedent’s will shall dispose of items of tangible personal property, other than property used in trade or business, not otherwise specifically disposed of by the will. To be admissible under this section as evidence of the intended disposition, the writing must be signed by the testator and must describe the items and the devisees with reasonable certainty. The writing may be prepared before or after the execution of the will. It may be altered by the testator after its preparation. It may be a writing that has no significance apart from its effect upon the dispositions made by the will. If more than one otherwise effective writing exists, then, to the extent of any conflict among the writings, the provisions of the most recent writing revoke the inconsistent provisions of each prior writing.
732.5165 Effect of fraud, duress, mistake, and undue influence.—A will is void if the execution is procured by fraud, duress, mistake, or undue influence. Any part of the will is void if so procured, but the remainder of the will not so procured shall be valid if it is not invalid for other reasons. If the revocation of a will, or any part thereof, is procured by fraud, duress, mistake, or undue influence, such revocation is void.
732.517 Penalty clause for contest.—A provision in a will purporting to penalize any interested person for contesting the will or instituting other proceedings relating to the estate is unenforceable.
732.518 Will contests.—An action to contest the validity of all or part of a will or the revocation of all or part of a will may not be commenced before the death of the testator.
Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
Strategic Planning With Purpose
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