Important Elements of a Will: Testator, Form, Beneficiary, Executor, Execution

An estate planning attorney will assure you have met statutory requirements for the important elements of a valid will.

Your Will is one of the most important documents you will ever sign. So, it makes sense to have a Will that is complete. To do so, you will need to understand the most important elements of a valid Will.

The Testator and the Elements of a Valid Will

For a Will to be valid, the testator must:

  • be of sound mind,
  • be at least 18 years of age,
  • have testamentary capacity, and
  • sign the Will voluntarily without undue influence.

Jason, age 17 years and 10 months, prepared a Will from an online site and signed it. He didn’t realize that his Will was invalid under Florida law. On the other end of the spectrum, Harold was age 89 when his daughter insisted he sign a Will. However, due to dementia, Harold lacked testamentary capacity or the ability to understand what he was signing. Also, his daughter pressured him to leave everything to her. Both of these Wills failed to satisfy important elements of a valid Will.

The Elements of a Will

There is no page limit or word limit for a Will. However, Wills typically contain the following:

  • The testator’s full legal name, marital status, and information about children, if any.
  • A section stating how estate assets should be distributed.
  • The name of a guardian, if the testator has minor children.
  • The names of the executor a/k/a Personal Representative and a successor executor.
  • Any general provisions required by state law.
  • A place for the testator and two witnesses to sign and date the Will.

Although it is not required by law, a self-proving affidavit can be signed by the testator, two witnesses, and a notary public. If this is attached to the original Will, the Will may be submitted to the court without requiring testimony from the witnesses.  This can save time and money for loved ones in the future.

The Execution of a Valid Will

Florida law also contains provisions regarding the execution, or signing, of the Will.

  • The testator must sign the Will or direct someone to sign on his or her behalf in the presence of two witnesses.
  • The witnesses must sign in the presence of the testator.

Wills do not have to be signed before a notary public. However, the self-proving affidavit, if one is attached, does need to be notarized.

To address the elements of a valid will, contact:

Law Offices of John Mangan, PA
Palm City – Stuart, FL

CALL: 1 (772) 218-0480

Do you question the need for attorney guidance with so many online resources? Because laws and regulations are complex, and because every person has a lot at risk, more people than ever are seeking professional guidance from an experienced, knowledgeable source. That helps explain the rapid growth of our firm. Whether you happened upon this website by accident or are one of the many referrals we receive from a nearly 15-year collection of satisfied clients, our staff can provide customized estate planning guidance for you. Call us. Our number: 1 (772) 218-0480

Written by: John Mangan, JD, MBA

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