Important Elements of a 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 Will.

The Testator and the 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 Form of the 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 the 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.

Learn More About Estate Planning.

As a Florida attorney board certified in Wills, Trusts & Estates, Attorney John Mangan helps his clients develop complete estate plans. To schedule an appointment, call us at 772-324-9050 or fill out our Contact Form. Our office is conveniently located in Palm City, Florida. We also help clients throughout Florida, including Stuart, Palm City, Hobe Sound, Jupiter, and Port St. Lucie.

Written by John Mangan, Esq.

John Mangan, Esq.

I’m an attorney in Palm City, FL, and I serve clients throughout Martin County, including Stuart, Palm City, Hobe Sound, and Indiantown, as well as those in St. Lucie County, the Treasure Coast, Palm Beach County, and other parts of Florida. The Law Offices of John Mangan, P.A., is an innovative firm providing estate planning services to clients in Florida. We focus primarily on wills, trusts, asset protection, guardianship, and probate administration.