Unwitnessed wills are not valid in Florida, even if the will is valid out of state.

As I’ve noted in the past, Florida prohibits “Holographic” wills; wills that are handwritten by the testator but fail to meet Florida requirements for execution, usually for failure to have two witnesses.

A recent case, here:
Lee v. Estate of Payne
discusses this rule; in this case, a Colorado resident executed a Colorado will; it was unwitnessed but met the requirements for admission to probate in Colorado. However, the will also attempted to dispose of Florida real property.
Essentially, the will was sought to be admitted in Florida on the basis of “Full faith and credit”, i.e. that Florida should respect Colorado’s determination that it was a valid will.
Unfortunately for the beneficiary, the Florida court rejected that argument; Florida does not recognize unwitnessed wills, even if the will is valid in the state it was executed.
From a practical viewpoint, if you own property in Florida, whether you are a Florida resident or a resident of another state, and wish to leave property via a will, it is essential that your will at least be reviewed by a Florida attorney, particularly if your will was not drawn up by an attorney in the state in which you live. If you have questions about the validity of your will and live in or own property in The Villages, Florida, please feel free to contact my office to review your will.

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