What Are the Benefits of a Self-Proving Will?
A self-proving will differs from a traditional will in that is has a sworn statement from witnesses who saw an individual willingly sign the document. In Florida, it is not necessary for witnesses to have their signatures on a will notarized, but doing so can have major benefits for the handling of an estate.
Having a self-proving will means that witnesses to your will’s creation have signed a notarized affidavit stating that you intentionally created and finalized the legal document according to your wishes. Witnesses of a self-proving will must not be beneficiaries of the deceased to ensure that they are impartial to the will’s content.
Use of self-proving will in probate court
When an individual dies and his or her will goes to probate court, it must be proven that the will is valid. In probate, the court will accept the witnesses’ affidavits — attached to the person’s will — as a method of validating it. In other words, a self-proving will allows the court to quickly move past validation protocols, thereby hastening the entire probate process and, ultimately, the closure of the estate.
If a self-proving will does not exist, the court may go about validating the will through different means. Most frequently, witnesses will be called to court to swear under oath that the will is valid. They may also be required to submit a sworn statement. The process of locating witnesses and working with them to prove the validity of a will can be trying for a family dealing with the death of a loved one. Additionally, if a self-proving will is not in place and witnesses of the document’s finalization are also deceased, validating the will may become quite complicated.
To learn more about setting up a self-proving will in Florida, meet with a skilled estate planning attorney at the Charles Law Offices.