Q: My grandfather passed and has 4 children. He had a will but it is not signed. What happens?
My aunt says that they can get the will to legal if all siblings agree, but my father is suspicious. There is not an executor of the estate that I’m aware of. He also owned his own company without a beneficiary.
An unsigned will has no legal effect. Is it possible that the unsigned will is merely a copy?
In general, someone, normally in the family, has to file a petition with the court to be appointed personal representative and in due course the property would be distributed to the intestate heirs. Of course, as your aunt suggested, then the children, as the heirs pursuant to the intestacy statutes, could agree that the property be distributed as provided in the unsigned will.
Phillip William Gunthert agrees with this answer
A: I am very sorry for your loss on the passing of your grandfather, please accept my condolences for you and your family. A Will that is not signed is not a valid document that can be used and submitted to the clerk of the court and probate court. It is going to be important to get a Florida Probate Attorney. If there is no valid Will, then the Florida Intestate Statutes (without a Will) are going to apply. Based on the type of assets that have to be probated and their overall value will determine the type of probate that will be required or otherwise necessary. Usually, when there is no Will, the assets will go to the surviving spouse and or the children in equal shares, the probate attorney will be able to help you determine precisely who is entitled to what related to the probate estate.
Ira Markowitz agrees with this answer
Unfortunately, an unsigned Will is invalid (it doesn't matter if everyone agrees, although they may be able to disclaim their interest down the road if they so desire). If an original properly signed/witnessed Last Will and Testament cannot be located (preferably with a self-proving affidavit), then the deceased will be deemed to have passed "intestate." Intestate just means without a Will.
At that point Florida's intestacy statute determines who is to inherit (Fla Stat. 732.101 et seq) depending on who has survived:
- if there is a spouse (only marriage): all to the surviving spouse.
- if there is a surviving spouse and children from another relationship: spouse gets 1/2 and the children share remaining 1/2
- if there are surviving children, but no spouse, then all split evenly among the children.
(there are other fact patterns provided in the statute, but the above are some of the most common that we see).
If you are interested in a free probate consultation, we handle probate administration matters throughout Florida.
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