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Does a Florida will need to be notarized?

Ormond Beach, FL |
Attorney answers 4

Posted

In Florida, a will that is in writing, signed by the testator, and notarized is valid. Note that Florida law does not require will notarization by a court but it is a very frequent and good practice to have a Florida notary present when a will or trust is signed in the presence of witnesses.

So, although Florida law does not require a will to be notarized, it is highly recommended practice, followed by most lawyers.

Posted

Florida law follows:

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

2. Acknowledgment:

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.

History.--s. 1, ch. 74-106; s. 21, ch. 75-220; s. 11, ch. 77-87; s. 961, ch. 97-102; s. 42, ch. 2001-226; s. 5, ch. 2003-154.

Posted

Actually, the first answer is technically incorrect. Florida law requires that a will be signed by the testator and TWO subscribing witnesses; both of whom must sign in the presence of each other and in the presence of the testator; if the ONLY witness is the notary, then the will is invalid.

Florida law does NOT require notarization of wills; and in fact, IF the will is notarized, it should be in the form of a self proving affidavit; in which case the notary may NOT be one of the witnesses because the notary is taking the oath of the testator AND both witnesses; and of course, a notary may not take their own oath.

Posted

No but a notary can be a witness. Also it depends on where the Florida Will is executed. It is possible that it would be valid if signed in another state, but if executed in Florida it must be signed in the presence of two witnesses as stated above.