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Tampa Estate Planning Attorney > Blog > Estate Planning > It’s Time For A Will Witnessing Party

It’s Time For A Will Witnessing Party


Floridians have an extraordinary talent for finding reasons to have a party.  If our marriage fell apart, such that we no longer have a wedding anniversary, we celebrate our divorce anniversary; whether or not we invite our ex depends on how acrimonious the divorce was.  If a hurricane blows through Florida and we live in an evacuation zone, we drive a few miles inland and crash at a friend’s place for a hurricane party, where we get Category 5 drunk and play parlor games by flashlight until the rain stops and the storm clouds dissipate.  If divorce and natural disasters are no fun, but we celebrate them anyway, it follows that, even though contemplating your mortality is no fun, it is still a reason to celebrate.  Drafting your will in solitude might bring you temporary relief from worry about a legal battle over your estate, but it won’t make you less lonely.  It also won’t make your will legally valid.  Instead, you need to have two people you trust witness your will.  The first step in planning your will signing party is to review a draft of your will with a Tampa estate planning lawyer.

Bring Your Best Pen and Share Confidences With Your Closest Friends

Florida’s requirements for a legally valid will are much less strict than you might imagine.  Your will must be a typewritten or Word processor-created document printed on paper; handwritten wills, wills spoken in person before witnesses, and audio recordings of the testator’s last will and testament do not count in Florida probate court.  Likewise, three people, the testator and two witnesses, must all sign the will in each other’s presence.

In Florida, three people is a party, no matter the occasion.  This sounds like an occasion for a will signing party.  If that sounds too boring, you can call it the bucket list afterparty setlist launch party.  Invite two friends that you trust, share some drinks and snacks, and witness each other’s wills.  When you’re finished, take a group selfie with your signed wills.  Age-appropriate fun never felt so good.

Surprisingly, Florida law does not prohibit beneficiaries of a will from signing the will as witnesses.  It isn’t hard to see how this rule is Florida crazy, right up there will building housing developments with backyards that right straight into alligator-infested waterways, and with importing Nile monitor lizards to scare off other introduced species, such as the green iguana, plus native ones, like the American alligator.  Having a beneficiary of your will also be a witness is a recipe for trouble; you are asking for disinherited relatives to contest the will and claim that you signed the will under undue influence from the beneficiary who witnessed it.

Contact David Toback About Formalizing a Legally Valid Will

A Central Florida estate planning lawyer can help you get your will into the form that you want the witnesses to sign.  Contact David Toback in Tampa, Florida to set up a consultation.



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