For a will to be admitted to probate in Miami it must be proved to be effective and valid before the property can be distributed to beneficiaries. It will be necessary for a personal representative or executor of a Miami estate to locate one of the two witnesses required by Florida law who witnessed the testator sign the will in order to provide testimony under oath in court that the testator signed the will and was of sound mind.

However, under circumstances where witnesses have passed away, cannot be found, or may be incapacitated, Florida Statute 733.20 provides that the will may be admitted to probate “upon the oath of the personal representative, or upon the oath of any person having no interest in the estate under the will stating that the person believes the writing exhibited to be the true last will of the decedent.”

Choosing Witnesses in Miami

Florida law requires at least two witnesses to a will. When choosing witnesses, it is a good idea to select witnesses who will be found for a long time and are likely to survive the testator. If there is no one that the testator feels comfortable to ask to act as a witness, the law firm that prepares a will can provide two employees of the firm to act as witnesses. A witness should not also be a beneficiary to the will or the lawyer that prepared the will because it could be construed as a conflict of interest.

Self-Proving Will in Miami

If your Miami will is self-proving, your executor or personal representative would not need to locate any witnesses to validate it. It could just be admitted to probate without any further formal witness testimony. A self-proving will is one where the testator and the witnesses sign in the presence of each other under oath before a notary. The self-proving affidavit is attached to the will and must contain special language in accordance with Florida law which basically states that the testator signed in the presence of the witnesses and the witnesses signed in the presence of each and acknowledging that the instrument was the testator’s last will, and the testator signed the will freely and of sound mind. A testator of a will must be at least 18 years of age or older.

However, if an omitted heir or another interested party to your will contests the validity of the will, then it might be necessary for your personal representative to locate one of the witnesses witness to testify in court at the will contest hearing as to the validity of the will on behalf of the estate and the beneficiaries.

Miami Estate Attorney

To avoid any issues concerning the admittance of your will to probate or the validity of your will and your personal representative having to locate a witness to your will, it is recommended that you have a Miami estate attorney prepare your will. Also, if you moved from another state and have an existing will, it is recommended that a Miami estate attorney review it to make sure that it complies with Florida probate laws.

If you wish to speak to a Miami estate attorney, call the Law Offices of Albert Gurevich at (786) 522-1411.