Bauer & Associates Attorneys at Law
Local: 386.734.3313
Toll Free: 800.738.0424
Offices located in DeLand, FL

Was the Will Properly Executed?

The execution of a last will and testament without the required formality invalidates the will and serves as a ground for a challenge in a will contest.  The maker of the will is required to strictly comply with the statutory requirements in the execution of a will or codicil. 

Florida Statute 732.502 requires that a will or codicil be made in writing.  The maker shall sign the will at the end thereof, or acknowledge his signature to it, or direct another person to subscribe his signature to it in his presence.  The maker’s signing, or acknowledgment, must be in the presence of two witnesses who must sign the will in the presence of each other and in the presence of the maker.

The purpose of the statute is to assure not only that the signature on the will is that of the maker, but also to provide reasonable assurance of the circumstances under which the signature was affixed to the will.

The order in which the signing occurs makes no difference as long as the witnesses saw the maker sign the will and they signed it in his presence and in the presence of each other.  It is not necessary where the signatures of the witnesses appear.  Further, the execution of a will may be valid, even though the required witness signs in a capacity other than that of a witness (e.g. a notary public has been held to be a valid witness to the execution of a will where such person could have served as a witness).

See, 2 Florida Probate Code Manual §10.04 (2024) and Simpson v. Williamson, 611 So.2d 544 (Fla. 5th DCA 1992)