You moved to Florida, do you need a new Will?

By: Linda Hankins, Esquire 

Not always, but there are several important reasons you should consult with an estate planning attorney to be sure.  Most states will give effect to a Will executed properly in the state where the Will was created.  However, if the testator is a Florida resident when he or she signs a Will in another state, even if the Will is properly executed in the other state, it will not be valid in Florida unless the execution also meets Florida’s requirements for the execution of testamentary documents.  In other words, if a Will is signed in Minnesota at the time the individual is a Minnesota resident, and later the individual moves to Florida, the Will will be valid in Florida.  On the other hand, if a Florida resident executes a Will in Minnesota which satisfies the execution requirements in Minnesota, but not in Florida, the Will is not valid in Florida.  For a valid Will to be admissible to probate in Florida, it must have a self-proving affidavit executed at the same time as the Wills or the person admitting the Will must offer the testimony or a notarized Oath of one of the witnesses to the Will.

Another reason you should consult with a Florida estate planning attorney is to confirm whether all the provisions in your estate planning documents are enforceable in Florida.  For example, a clause stating that a beneficiary will be disinherited if the beneficiary files a lawsuit challenging a provision of the Will, is not valid in Florida, even if valid in the state where the Will was created.

Further, a consultation with Florida counsel will give you the opportunity to discover whether Florida law provides options previously not considered or available in the state where your estate planning documents were created.  Consultation with an estate planning attorney and/or tax advisor when you move to Florida and, thereafter, every five to ten years is advisable to ensure your estate planning documents conform to the current law and are utilizing the law to your full advantage.

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