pointing at signature

Your whole purpose behind executing a last will and testament may be defeated if it is considered invalid and unenforceable in the eyes of the Florida probate court. For one, you must be 18 years old or older and be of sound mind upon signing this estate planning document. But also, you may be required to have a certain number of witnesses present at the time of your signing. Read on to discover how many witnesses you need for a valid will execution and how a seasoned Broward County wills lawyer at The Probate Lawyers can work to ensure you abide by this requirement.

How many witnesses are required for a valid will execution in the state of Florida?

At the bottom of your last will and testament document, you must make any kind of mark, symbol, letter, or initial. This is so long as you intend for this to serve as your signature. Your action of signing this estate planning document must be witnessed by at least two witnesses, according to Florida estate law. At the same time, your witnesses must sign this document in your presence and the presence of one another.

That said, Florida estate law does not set exact guidelines for who may serve as your witness. This is so long as they are of sound mind, as well. However, it may be in your best interest to garner witnesses whom you did not designate as the beneficiaries of your estate. Otherwise, other beneficiaries may claim undue influence to the Florida probate court. Ultimately, this may make estate administration proceedings all the more emotionally draining and time-consuming for your loved ones.

It is worth mentioning that you may not be required to have a notary present at the time of your signing. However, your will must be notarized if you wish for it to be self-proving. That is, if you wish for it to stand up in court without demanding your witnesses to testify to its validity and enforceability.

What are the consequences of having insufficient witness signatures?

You do not want a minor snag, such as employing less than two witnesses, to jeopardize the entire legitimacy of your last will and testament. But unfortunately, it is a rather great possibility.

For one, the Florida probate court may rule that one or more portions of your will are unenforceable. Or, in a worst-case scenario, it may have grounds to invalidate your entire estate planning document. With this, it may revert to Florida intestacy laws when administering your estate to beneficiaries.

In conclusion, this is all to say that such an error may have your estate plan handled in a way that you had not entirely intended for. So, before it is too late, you must retain the services of a competent Broward County estate lawyer. Contact The Probate Lawyers’ office today.