Cynthia Crofoot Rignanese, Esquire
Thinking Globally, Practicing Locally in Central Florida Since 1990

Recent Articles

Rignanese Law Blog

What Is A Nuncupative Will And Is It Valid In Florida?

Many people in Polk County are probably familiar with the usual process of creating a will. The testator, often with the help of an attorney, draws up a will and signs it in the presence of witnesses who also sign it. One question people may have is whether other forms of a last will and testament are valid in Florida. Specifically, is an oral will valid in the Sunshine State? The short answer is no.

Some kinds of oral wills are recognized as valid in some states. These wills are known as nuncupative wills. A person in imminent peril of death - such as by military service or terminal illness - may orally state their will before witnesses. If the will is written down within 30 days of the creation of the nuncupative will, the will may be recognized as valid in some states.

Florida is not one of these states, however. Under Florida law, all wills must be signed at the end by the testator and by at least two witnesses. All of these parties must sign the will in the testator's presence and in each other's presence. If this does not happen, a document may not be regarded as a will by Florida's probate courts under state law.

Although this process is less convenient for testators, it also provides greater assurance that a will reflects the desires of a testator regarding the distribution of their assets. Many people have found that a small investment of time and money in the creation of a will prevents a lot of headaches later.

Rignanese & Associates is available to work with clients on their legal needs. Please reach out to us at 863.294.1114.

1. On behalf of Kelly Kennedy of J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC which has been acquired by Rignanese & Associates, PLLC.

Source: Florida Legislature, "732.502 Execution of wills," accessed on Sept. 10, 2017.

Cynthia Rignanese