in florida if you die without a will , is a will from a previous state valid ?

UPDATED: Jun 11, 2009

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in florida if you die without a will , is a will from a previous state valid ?

reason im asking is my father refuses to put the house in awill, and i keep telling him the state of florida ill wind up owning it or at least we will have to pay lawyer fees while its tied up in probate which could take some time , i imagine ?

Asked on June 11, 2009 under Estate Planning, Florida


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

Your father's most recent valid will would be the one in force, when he passes, no matter whether it was made in Florida or not.  However, it would be interpreted under Florida law, and it's also possible that it might not have been signed and witnessed in a way that meets Florida's requirements.  The law of the person's last home state is what's important.

If a person dies without a valid will, state law has a substitute, called "intestate succession."  It doesn't mean the estate will take longer to administer, or higher legal fees, unless there's some disagreement about who your father's children are.  The state would only end up with the house if there are no surviving relatives that are close enough.

To see if your father's old out-of-Florida will would be valid there, have it reviewed by an attorney in your area.  One place to find a qualified lawyer is our website,

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