Estate Planning: How Florida Law Differs From Other States

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Estate planning laws vary by state and Florida legal experts say that if you relocate, you definitely have to look at the law of the state you are in to see if your Florida will is still valid. At the same time, if moving into Florida from out of state, you need to have your will analyzed under the laws of Florida to make sure that it’s still valid. Because it is out of state, it normally makes the probate process slower.

What’s valid in Florida regarding estate planning laws and living wills?

To answer that question, we asked Sarah E. Peart, an attorney from Tampa Florida whose practice focuses mainly on the areas of wills, trusts, estate planning, and real estate law. Here’s what she told us:

The general law in Florida is that a will is valid in Florida if it is valid in the state in which it was executed. There are some exceptions, however, so you should always have the will reviewed. For example, holographic wills are never accepted in Florida. A holographic will is basically a handwritten will. Oral wills are not accepted in Florida either.

There is also a chance that certain provisions in the will may not be valid in this state. So, the general rule is that if the will was valid in the state that it was executed in, it will be valid in Florida. However, an individual should always have an estate attorney review the out-of-state will to ensure it complies with and is valid under Florida laws.

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What are the other provisions?

Peart says that there are other provisions that also apply, such as wills written in foreign languages and Florida homestead laws.

  • Foreign language wills. Wills in Florida must be written and they can be written in a foreign language. However, for a will written in a foreign language to be valid, a true and proper English translation must be attached in English.
  • Homestead laws. Homestead laws in Florida are very particular and differ from most other states. It is crucial that you have your plan reviewed by an attorney to ensure your homestead is protected and devised in accordance with Florida law.

There’s a large percentage of people who do not have plans for a variety of reasons. Estate planning laws are part of a  very specific area of law that encompasses wills, trusts, health care directives, probate, and more. Use the form below to contact experienced attorneys to discuss your situation.

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