Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Florida

I had a will done online legal zoom want to change it never had it witnessed or notarized can I just shred and start over

Asked on 4/16/20, 9:31 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Barry Stein De Cardenas, Freixas, Stein & Zachary

A will that is not witnessed and not notarized is ineffective.

you should start again no matter what.

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Answered on 4/16/20, 9:37 am
C Randolph Coleman The Coleman Law Firm, PLLC

I agree with Mr. Stein. If it was not witnessed, it is not a valid will. While a notary is not necessary to have a valid will, the notary can prepare a "self-proof" affidavit for the will. Upon death, the will must be "proved" to be valid before it can be probated. With the self-proof affidavit, the will is self-proved and nothing more is required. Without the self-proof affidavit, it is necessary to locate one of the witnesses to the will to obtain an "oath" that establishes the Will was properly signed. Often, it is not possible to locate one of the witnesses to the will to get that oath. If you cannot find one of the witnesses, the will is not valid - or, you may have to go through a lengthy process to establish the will without the oath of a witness. Accordingly, obtaining the self-proof affidavit that is notarized is often of critical importance to probate the will.

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Answered on 4/16/20, 9:44 am

Since the will has not been properly executed, it is not valid. I strongly recommend that you consult with an attorney. Many do-it-yourself kits for wills do not consider state specific laws. Many times there are issues encountered during probate with these type of wills. You may also want to consider doing a Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Surrogate, and Living Will (different than a will).

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Answered on 4/17/20, 5:08 am

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