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What if the Will is Not Self-Proving?

In a previous blog, we discussed the need for a will to be self-proving. In other words, that the will include an acknowledgment or affidavit by the person whose will it is and two witnesses. But what if the will you need to probate isn’t self-proving?

It depends on the circumstances. If the decedent, person who passed away, lived in another state, there may have a probate in that other state. If so, and the will meets the requirements of that state, there may be an Order Admitting Will or an order with a similar title. A court issued copy of this document may be sufficient for the will to be approved in the Florida probate as well.

If the person lived in another state, but there is no probate filed in another state, a Petition to Appoint Commissioner can be filed. The Commissioner appointed will take the oath of one or more of the witnesses of the original will. The Oath(s) will also be filed for the Judge’s consideration.

If the decedent lived in Florida and didn’t have a self-proving will, a process to prove the will is required. This process is explained in Florida Statute 733.201 titiled Proof of wills.  To begin, one or more of the witnesses will sign an oath before either a judge or deputy clerk of court. Another option is for the personal representative that was nominated in the will to sign an oath stating that the will is believed to be the last will of the decedent before either a judge or clerk of court.

This process can be time consuming and costly, especially if it is difficult to locate the parties involved. It is recommended to review your estate planning documents when you relocate to a different state to avoid these type of complications.

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