Q: Can a homemade Florida Will be notarized by a notary instead of witnessed by two witnesses?
To be a valid will it must be witnessed by two attesting witnesses. The will can be self proving by additionally having a notary acknowledge witnessing the signor of the will in addition to the two witnesses. Not having a self proving will means the witness have to be located to execute an oath of witness before a clerk of the court when the will needs to be admitted to probate. Also bear in mind that Florida law does not recognize holographic wills(handwritten wills).
I frequently have encountered clients with major problems because they did their own wills so what they saved in not having an attorney prepare a proper will was spent many times over in problems caused by that homemade will. I would suggest that you see an attorney to have a proper will that is self proving to avoid future problems.
Phillip William Gunthert agrees with this answer
A: No, you need to have two witnesses or it will not be valid whatsoever in Florida, you can likely do it via online notary, even Remote Online Notary (RON). You should also pay someone to help you with your estate plan, you likely need durable power of attorney, living will, Florida healthcare surrogate, nomination of guardian, hipaa waiver and so forth so it would be worth talking to an estate planning attorney to get it all done. If not, be sure to get the witnesses or it will be a useless piece of paper entirely.
A Florida will must be witnessed by two witnesses, or it is not a valid will in Florida. To admit a will to probate, the probate court must determine that it is a valid will.
Upon the filing of a petition for probate, the will must contain a "self-proof" affidavit or a commissioner must be appointed by the probate court to locate one of the witnesses to the will. The commissioner must take an oath from at least one of the witnesses attesting that both of the witnesses actually observed the person making the will sign the will.
A self-proof affidavit is an affidavit signed at the same time the will is signed and both witnesses to the will must acknowledge that they and the person making the will all witnessed each other sign the will. The acknowledgment must be in the presence of a notary public.
If you do not have a self-proof affidavit prepared at the time the will is signed, and you cannot find a witness to the will, then you cannot prove that the will is valid. If the will is not valid then the estate must be probated as an intestate estate, and the assets of the estate will be distributed according to the Florida intestacy statute.
In most cases, it is important that the will have the self-proof affidavit so that it is not necessary to locate one of the witnesses, often many years after the will was signed.
I hope this helps you with regard to the proper signing of a will.
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