Estate Planning: How Florida Law Differs From Other States

Estate planning laws vary by state and Florida legal experts say that if you relocate, you definitely have to look at the law of the state you are in to see if your Florida will is still valid. At the same time, if moving into Florida from out of state, you need to have your will analyzed under the laws of Florida to make sure that it's still valid.

What's valid in Florida?

To answer that question, we asked Sarah E. Peart, an attorney from Tampa Florida whose practice focuses mainly in the areas of wills, trusts, estate planning and real estate law. Here's what she told us:

The general law in Florida is that a will is valid in Florida if it is valid in the state in which it was executed. There are some exceptions, however, so you should always have the will (or other estate planning documents) reviewed. For example, holographic wills are never accepted in Florida. A holographic will is basically a handwritten will. Oral wills are not accepted in Florida either.

There is also a chance that some certain provisions in the will may not be valid in this state. So, the general rule is that if the will was valid in the state that it was executed in, it will be valid in Florida. However, you should always have an attorney review your out-of-state will to ensure it complies with, and is valid under Florida laws.

Other provisions

Peart says that there are other provisions that also apply, such as wills written in foreign languages and Florida homestead laws.

  • Foreign language wills. Wills in Florida must be written and they can be written in a foreign language. However, for a will written in a foreign language to be valid, a true and proper English translation must be attached in English.
  • Homestead laws. Homestead laws in Florida are very particular and differ from most other states. It is crucial that you have your plan reviewed by an attorney to ensure your homestead is protected and devised in accordance with Florida law.

Estate planning is a very specific area of law that encompasses wills, trusts, health care directives, probate and more. Click here, to contact an experienced Florida estate planning attorney to discuss your situation.