Florida Trust and Estates Law: Who Can Make a Will in Florida?
Who can make a Florida will? What do estate planning lawyers need to know about will signing ceremonies? How old does a person have to be to make a valid will in Florida? What is Florida Statute 732.501? Does a person have to have testamentary capacity? Can a minor execute a valid will in Palm Beach County?
Florida Statute 732.501 states that any person who is of a sound mind and who is 18 years or older may execute a Florida will. Florida probate litigators and West Palm Beach estate planning attorneys know that a person needs to have testamentary capacity when they execute a will. Otherwise, their Florida will may end up being contested by the beneficiaries.
What is being of a “sound mind”? What is testamentary capacity? There are four main components to show testamentary capacity (sometimes called “sufficient mental capacity”) in Florida:
- understanding that he or she is creating a distribution of his or her property after death,
- knowing the nature and extent of his or her property,
- knowing the named heirs and members of his or her family
- understanding in a reasonable manner the general nature and effect of the act of signing the will.
While this legal test for testamentary capacity may sound complicated, experienced trust and estates lawyers can help make sense of it, and whether it can be met in your case. Having an experienced estate planning attorney be a witness to and stand behind the will is often a determining factor in will contest cases in Florida.