Vital Reasons To Have Your Will Notarized
A Will or a Will and testament is a legal document in which a person, known as the Testator, expresses how they want their property distributed after their death.
The death part can make the whole issue of a Will unsettling for some of us. We think of dying, or our loved-ones dying and things become too emotional to deal with it. Wills in movies are typically competitions amongst family and friends of the deceased, depicting them as winners and losers, or a combination of both. One wins a house, but it’s haunted; one wins a fortune, but it’s doled out in tiny increments; one wins a bunch of cats…well both sides lose there, but you get the point.
In real life, unfortunately, many people put off creating a Will entirely. If we die without a Will, it means we’ve died “intestate”, which means intestacy laws of our state of residence will determine how our property is distributed.
If you’re single with no children, your parents will receive your entire estate if they’re both living. Otherwise it will be divided among your siblings and half-siblings and any surviving parent.
If you have no surviving parents at the time of your death, your entire estate will be divided among siblings in equal parts.
If there are no surviving parents, siblings, or descendant’s of siblings, the relatives on your mother’s side would inherit one-half of the estate, with the other one-half going to those on your father’s side.
The ifs, ands, and buts for the deceased person, without a Will, continue in progressively more complicated provisions until a person’s entire estate is distributed. This process can be time-consuming and complicated for everyone involved, which is why drafting a Will is the more prudent option. That being said, there are many options and types of Wills, and you should seek legal advice regarding making a Will.
Some types of Wills (from http://johnhevanspa.com/) include:
- Nuncupative (non-culpatory) – oral or dictated; often limited to sailors or military personnel.
- Holographic Will – written in the hand of the Testator; in many jurisdictions, the signature and the material terms of the holographic Will must be in the handwriting of the testator.
- Self-proved – in solemn form with affidavits of subscribing witnesses to avoid probate.
- Notarial – Will in public form and prepared by a civil-law notary (civil-law jurisdictions and Louisiana, United States).
- Mystic – sealed until death.
- Serviceman’s Will – Will of person in active-duty military service and usually lacking certain formalities, particularly under English law.
- Reciprocal/mirror/mutual/husband and wife Wills – Wills made by two or more parties (typically spouses) that make similar or identical provisions in favor of each other.
- Unsolemn Will – Will in which the executor is unnamed.
- Will in solemn form – signed by testator and witnesses.
Whichever option you choose, once you have your Will in hand, you should sign it in the presence of a Notary, with the following provisions.
- The document signer must sign in the presence of the Notary, and be competent to execute the document.
- The signer must be personally known to the Notary or produce appropriate identification.
- The document must have a jurat, or the document signer must direct the Notary to provide a jurat.
There is no legal “requirement” that a Florida Will be notarized. However, there’s an affidavit that you can sign along with your Will, called a Self-Proving Affidavit. This is a statement that a person and their witnesses sign in front of a notary public, verifying that the Will signing was conducted according to state law, making a Will “self-proving”. Making a Will self-proving shortens and simplifies the steps of probate. The process involves the testator and witnesses taking an oath and signing an affidavit stating that they signed the Will in the presence of each other. The notary is responsible for administering an oath to the testator and the witnesses, and for completing a jurat.
Ultimately, I think we would all agree, and history, real and in cinema, would show that a Will is a good thing and a lack of one is bad. And that having your Will notarized is a smart thing.
To have your will notarized at your location, call or text us at (813) 591-0820.
I am not an attorney. The information above is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.