In order to understand wills, particularly wills written in the state of Florida, one must first know exactly what a will is. Everyone has a general idea, but for the sake of clarity, a will is a legal declaration of how a person wishes his or her possessions to be disposed of after death. A will is a legally executed document.

WillsRegardless of age, everyone needs a will. Without a will, one has no say as to how assets will be distributed. The courts decide where the money is to go. If there are children involved, it is imperative that a will is executed. Without appointing a guardian for a child or children, they may not go to one’s family and may end up in foster care until they are 18.

There are several different types of wills in Florida. Following is a list describing the differences:

  • Attested Will - This is the most common sort of will, written and signed by testator (person that has written the will), in the presence of two witnesses, (or by a proxy) in Florida.
  • Military Will - A will executed in accordance with the Federal law by eligible military personnel. Similar to an attested will and valid in Florida.
  • Holographic Will - The type that grandma writes and leaves in the mattress with her money….this is a handwritten and signed will only by testator, without witnesses. This is not a recognized in Florida. However, a handwritten will which is signed and witnessed as an attested will, can be acceptable and then not considered holographic.
  • Oral Will - Maybe your grandfather told your grandmother that he wanted her to have the home and inheritance and to divide among her children. He didn’t write it down. Spoken to a person, is an oral will and is invalid.
  • Out of State Will - This sort of will may be valid in Florida, if it was valid in the locale where it was executed. Under these circumstances, the will is valid in Florida.


The requirements for a valid attested will in the state of Florida are that the testator must sign the will or a proxy may sign the will at the direction of the testator or in his or her presence. It has become common that testator sign and initial each page, however legally unnecessary.

The will must be signed in the presence of two witnesses. The witnesses do not have to read the will but must sign after the testator has signed and be in the presence of the testator and each other.


Testamentary intent and testamentary capacity are terms relating to the intent and capacity of the testator and his or her written will. Testamentary intent means that the person who created the document, means to have it serve as his or her will. Putting a title on the will is proof of testamentary intent but not always conclusive.

Testamentary capacity means that the person who created the will is aged 18 years or over or is an emancipated minor. As well, the person must be of sound mind. Sound mind can be defined as the ability to think reason and understand oneself. Particularly, in relation to the estate conveyed in one’s will.

In conclusion, when considering writing a will, one must be sure to follow certain guidelines and laws necessary for the legal conveyance of one’s estate to those whom the testator has chosen. In the absence of a will, such requests, even if verbally or holographically conveyed, are neither adequate nor legal. The will must be written by the testator, signed by the testator or proxy (under surveillance and direction of testator) and the testator signature must be witnessed by 2 attesting witnesses and signed by these witnesses in the presence of each other. Certain parameters are necessary as well to insure the will is legal. Testator must be of legal age, over 18 and must be of sound mind, as described previously.

Clearly stated, a will is a necessary document for every adult, and when outlined such as above, steps can be taken to see that the process runs smoothly and legally for all involved.