Whether you have already set up an estate plan and you need to revisit it, or if you are planning to set up an estate plan for the first time, your ultimate goal is to make sure that your assets and affairs are distributed and handled in the manner according to your wishes after you pass away. That can sometimes be harder than you think.
In a world in which a lot of people are taking advantage of do-it-yourself, online estate planning tools, there has been a prevalence of people with incomplete, or improperly completed wills and other estate documents. Once a person passes away, it can be difficult to unwind what the actual wishes were of the deceased person.
Accordingly, you want to make sure that your last will and testament, and other estate documents, are properly completed and authenticated to make sure that your wishes are followed after you pass. One way in which Florida law makes it easier to enforce your wishes articulated in your will is to include a self-proving affidavit in Florida along with your will. That would mean that your will would be considered “self-proving.”
In this article, we will talk about what a self-proving affidavit in Florida is, and we will provide the actual language of the affidavit.
If, after reading this article, you want to create a trust for your own estate, then we welcome you to give us a call at Doane & Doane, PA.
At Doane & Doane, PA, we are passionate about giving our clients the personalized legal counsel they need to appropriately take care of many major life and death decisions, such as estate planning. So, to answer your estate planning questions after you read this article, we welcome you to consider contacting us at Doane & Doane, PA for estate planning advice and services. You can contact us today at 561-656-0200 or fill out our online contact form.
What is A Self-Proving Will or Self-Proving Affidavit in Florida?
It is either called a self-proving will or a will with a self-proving affidavit in Florida, but whatever you call it, the purpose of a self-proving will is to avoid the cost of authenticating a will in probate court after you have passed away. Thus, when an executor of an estate (called a personal representative in Florida) brings a will to the probate court if the will is self-proving, then the will is automatically considered authentic, and no further steps – costing time and money – have to be taken.
This is important because the validity of a will is of paramount importance to a probate court. If a court cannot conclude that your will is valid, then there is a chance that your estate may not be distributed according to your wishes stated in that will.
How Do I Make a Will Self Proving?
Like many things in the law, as long as you use a particular language in your will, then you will be able to make your will self-proving. The language to make a will self-proving is as follows:
STATE OF FLORIDA
COUNTY OF ________________
I, [name of person executing will], declare to the officer taking my acknowledgment of this instrument, and to the subscribing witnesses, that I signed this instrument as my will.
[signature of person executing the will]
We, [name of witness 1] and [name of witness 2], have been sworn by the officer signing below, and declare to the officer on our oaths that the testator declared the instrument to be the testator’s will and signed it in our presence and that we each signed the instrument as a witness in the presence of the testator and in the presence of each other.
[signature of witness 1]
[signature of witness 2]
Acknowledged and subscribed before me by the testator, (type or print testator’s name), who is personally known to me or who has produced (state type of identification—see s. 117.05(5)(b)2.) as identification, and sworn to and subscribed before me by the witnesses, (type or print name of first witness) who is personally known to me or who has produced (state type of identification—see s. 117.05(5)(b)2.) as identification and (type or print name of second witness) who is personally known to me or who has produced (state type of identification—see s. 117.05(5)(b)2.) as identification, and subscribed by me in the presence of the testator and the subscribing witnesses, all on (date).
[Signature of Officer]
[Print, type, or stamp commissioned name and affix official seal]
That’s it. As long as you have that language at the end of your will – typically referred to as a self-proving affidavit – then you likely have a self-proving will. Of course, it is still vital that you consult an experienced estate planning attorney to make sure that your will is self-proving.
Look to Doane & Doane for Help with Your Self-Proving Affidavit in Florida
Founded in 2003 by husband and wife legal team, Randell C. Doane and Rebecca G. Doane, Doane & Doane provides legal and financial services to families, individuals, and businesses throughout Southeast Florida.
Estate planning is about much more than just giving away property. It is an act of love and kindness, with the ultimate goal of providing for the future financial security of your loved one. At Doane & Doane, our Wills and Trusts Attorneys West Palm Beach help people plan for retirement, make provisions for loved ones, figure out future child support, and minimize tax liability. Experienced wills and trusts attorneys know which tools to use to get the best results for their clients. Our lawyers can help you determine which tools are best suited to your specific circumstances.
When it comes to probate matters, such as the formal administration of an estate, Florida fiduciaries seek the assistance of the attorneys at Doane & Doane, P.A. to administer and manage their trusts and estates. Notably, the founding partners of Doane & Doane are board-certified West Palm Beach Probate Attorneys. With the additional advantage of certified public accountancy in their backgrounds, they present a unique combination of skills and experience which enables them to effectively settle, administer, and manage clients’ trust and estates.
Call us at Doane & Doane, P.A. to help you if you are faced with a probate matter, or if you would like estate planning services in Florida. You can reach us at 561-656-0200. Call us today.