The personal representative of a Miami decedent’s estate is responsible for finding the decedent’s original will and admitting it to probate. Under Florida Probate code, a valid Florida will is one that is in writing signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses and signed by the two witnesses at the time the testator signed and in the presence of each other.
When it has been established that a Florida decedent had a will, but it cannot be found after the death of the decedent, Florida law presumes that the testator intended to revoke or destroy the will. The theory behind this presumption is that a will is an important document, and if someone wanted their will to be found and admitted to probate, that they would put it in a place that relatives or the executor could find it or leave instructions as to where it is located. This can create all sorts of issues for beneficiaries and loved ones of the decedent and cause family disagreements.
Florida Statute 733.207
There may be many other reasons why the will cannot be found. It could be misplaced or damaged, lost in moving or in the possession of a person unknown to the executor or family members. When an interested party to the estate wants to prove that their loved one’s will existed, the burden is on that individual to show that there was a valid will.
Florida Statute 733.207 provides that when there is a copy of the will, if the party who wants the will admitted to probate can establish that the decedent made the will through testimony of the witnesses and/or the attorney who drafted the will, then the Court may permit the admittance of the copy of the will to probate in lieu of the original will. A good Miami probate and estate attorney can help make this argument on behalf of the individual who wants the will admitted.
Keep Will in Safe Place
In order to avoid your will being lost or misplaced, it is a good idea to keep your will in a safe place. This way, when you pass away, your family will not have to spend extra time or costs on establishing your intentions and your assets will go to whom you wish. Otherwise, you may be considered dying without a will (intestate), which means under Florida law that the your assets are subject to Florida intestate laws and rights of succession. This could result in your assets being distributed in a different manner than you intended.
Miami Estate Attorney
If you are a personal representative, beneficiary or interested party to a Miami decedent’s estate and are unable to find the decedent’s will or have questions regarding other estate matters, it is recommended that you contact a Miami estate attorney.
If you wish to speak to a Miami estate attorney, call the Law Offices of Albert Gurevich at (786) 522-1411.