Are ‘Deathbed Wills’ Considered Valid in Florida?
Sometimes, people who find themselves facing imminent death could decide to draft a last will and testament or make amendments to an existing will. But is a so-called “deathbed will” valid?
The standards for wills made on a person’s deathbed are generally the same as any other will. For a will made in this situation to be valid, it must include at least one of the following:
- Handwritten and signed by the person who made the will
- Signed and dated by the person who made will in the presence of witnesses, who verify that the document is the person’s will and who also sign the document
As with any will, it’s only valid if the person creating it has the testamentary capacity to do so. This means that the will-maker must have a reasonable understanding that he or she is creating a will to pass property and assets to beneficiaries, and that he or she was not coerced in any way into doing so.
In very rare circumstances, oral wills made on one’s deathbed might also be considered valid. However, providing the validity of an oral will is extremely difficult. It is always a better idea to get the will in writing whenever possible.
Generally, there are no legal rules regarding where or when a will must be signed or created. In fact, it is common for people to create wills while receiving hospital care or while on bedrest at home, especially if there is reason to believe they are nearing the end of their life. It does not matter if the will is created or amended suddenly, so long as it is prepared according to state law.
For more information about how you can create a legally binding will, meet with an experienced Florida estate planning attorney at The Charles Law Offices.