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I have a legal will from PA. Is it still valid in Florida?

Cape Coral, FL |

I have a will that was created by my attorney in Pa in 1996. Nothing has changed but my residence. I am now living in Fl. Do I need to create a new will or does the State recognize this will.

Attorney Answers 8


  1. Florida will recognize a will that was validly executed when you were a resident of Pennsylvania. With that said, you should still meet with an experienced Florida attorney to review the terms of the will, as well as to have him or her prepare a power of attorney and health care proxy which comply with Florida law. Good luck to you.

    This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. I am licensed in Connecticut and New York and my answers are based upon the law in those jurisdictions. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if I were to review a client's file and have the opportunity to interview the client. Accordingly, I strongly urge you to retain an attorney in your jurisdiction with respect to any legal matter.


  2. Yes, it should be just fine. As mentioned, it is always a good idea to have a "will" review every few years as laws change and it is best to find out that your will is outdated and amending it prior to your passing. But, as long as the will is valid in PA, it will also be in FL.

    Carol Johnson Law Firm, P.A. : (727) 647-6645 : carol@caroljohnsonlaw.com : Wills, Trusts, Real Property, Probate, Special Needs: Information provided here is anecdotal and should not be relied upon or considered legal advice. Every matter is different and answers given here are general in nature and may not reflect current Florida law at the time you are reading this posting. Please contact me if you feel you need additional assistance with your matter.


  3. Florida will recognize a validly executed will from another state. However, statutes differ from state to state. You should have a Florida attorney review the will to see if the will complies with Florida law. For example we have statutes dealing with limitation on the outright devise of a homestead when there are minor children, or attempting to disinherit a spouse. For your peace of mind, have it reviewed.

    The response given is general in nature and based upon limited information. It does not and cannot replace that of a proper consultation with a qualified attorney. You should not act upon this Information alone, but should seek legal counsel prior to taking any action.


  4. Here's the underlying problem that explains why all of us recommend getting your Will checked out by a Florida lawyer...
    Comity is a legal concept requiring all the states in the Union to give full faith and credit to each other's contracts, including trusts. So, if you were asking about a PA trust, it wouldn't be such a big deal because whoever would be administering your trust would have to follow PA law (or whatever state's law is stated in the trust agreement). But a Will is not a contract; so comity doesn't apply. While Florida probate courts might not find the out of state Will to be invalid, it will apply Florida probate law in administering it; and that may or may not conflict with your intentions. So get it looked at. Plus you should be given the opportunity to learn your additional choices in planning your estate to address incapacity, tax, probate-avoidance, privacy, asset protection, and other issues.

    Reach me at dennis@411financial.com, (877) 411-3462, or (954) 900-2939. Do you know the consequences of your legal situation on your Financial & Estate Plan? I run a Florida law practice and a nationwide financial planning practice (411 Financial) in which I mostly work with people/families who have recently undergone a legal claim like personal injury, divorce, wrongful termination, etc. I find that money without purpose finds a way of getting spent; so I work with my clients to make sure that they have something to show for all of their troubles well after their legal claims are resolved. Securities and investment advisory services are offered through Brokers International Financial Services, LLC, member FINRA/SIPC, Panora, Iowa, Brokers International Financial Services, LLC is not affiliated with 411 Financial, 411 LegalDox, or 411 FlaLaw. Disclaimer: The response above is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, would significantly alter the above response.


  5. I agree with my colleagues. The Will would be valid in Florida. Given that you have had a move, however, which is a major life change, and that 17 years has passed, since you executed the Will, it makes sense to review your entire estate plan with a Florida estate planning attorney to make sure that things are still set up the way they should be.

    Most attorneys will not charge you to review your estate plan.

    James Frederick

    ***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!


  6. My colleagues are all correct on the validity issue....however I seem to recall a special rule for FL that requires the executor to be FL resident....so if you have named a PA person as executor then you need to do something about complying with FL law (see below). I state this as a cautionary note and hope that a FL probate attorney chimes in here on this specific point as it is a problem unless you meet the following requirement I obtained from another website:

    10. WHO CAN BE A PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE?

    To qualify to serve as a personal representative, an individual must be either a Florida resident or, regardless of residence, a spouse, sibling, parent, child, or other close relative of the decedent. An individual who is not a legal resident of Florida, and who is not closely related to the decedent, cannot serve as a personal representative.

    My answer is not intended to be giving legal advice and this topic can be a complex area where the advice of a licensed attorney in your State should be obtained.


  7. I usually recommend a codicil to state that you are a Florida resident and to make sure it meets the self proving requirements.
    You should also have your new Florida attorney review your option of a Living Trust and update you power of attorney and living will.

    The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.

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