Do you have questions about your father’s current estate plan? Often, we find that many of our new clients are also new Florida seniors. For example, your father may have moved to Florida, changed his domicile, and now needs to know if his original estate planning from another state will work in the state of Florida or if he needs to make a change.

The simple answer is that a new estate plan may not be necessary simply because a person moves to Florida. The Florida statutes do not require that a last will and testament or trust agreement be updated when a person moves his or her domicile to Florida. No particular form of words is necessary for a last will and testament to be valid, if it was signed with the formalities required in the state where your father was a resident. 

A holographic will or a nuncupative will from another state, however, is a document that will not be admitted to probate in Florida.  Let us explain this in more detail. A holographic last will and testament is a handwritten will that has not been properly witnessed. By contrast though, a last will and testament in a person’s handwriting that has been signed and witnessed in the same manner required for a will, however, is not considered a holographic will and may be admitted to probate. A nuncupative will is an oral will declared or dictated by a person in his or her final illness before a sufficient number of witnesses and, afterwards, reduced to writing.

Nevertheless, a will from another state may need revising to comply with laws governing the appointment of a personal representative. It is important to remember that the person named as the personal representative may not be qualified to serve in Florida. For instance, if that person does not reside in Florida, or is not a relative or a spouse of a relative, he or she cannot serve as the personal representative.

An out-of-state last will and testament may also need revising if your father moves to Florida for other reasons. Just a few examples to consider are how Florida treats the benefits left to surviving spouses, the disinheritance of children, and homestead property. Further, a last will and testament is only one of the documents your father may need. He may also need to update lifetime documents such as his durable power of attorney to ensure that he is protected from sudden incapacity or illness.

We know this article may raise more questions that it answers. For this reason, and more, we encourage you not to wait to speak with attorney Lynn Belo. Do not wait to contact us and schedule a meeting at our office.