Congratulations! You decided not to procrastinate and your actually prepared your estate planning documents. You realized you have family members that will likely fight to the death to get that antique mirror hanging in your bedroom. You decided that it was important to draft a will to specifically state who will receive specific items from your estate when you pass away. Your first thought was, “What do I care? I am dead.” But you know that your son holds grudges for years and you do not want a family riff to occur at the time of your passing.
What happens if you pass away and nobody is able to find the will that you drafted? Florida law allows for the contents of a will or a codicil (amendment to an old will) to be proven even if the will cannot be found.
Florida Statute §733.207 provides that the contents of a will that was lost or destroyed can be proven if either;
(1) two disinterested witnesses testify as to the contents of the will, or
(2) a correct copy of the will is provided and one disinterested witness testifies as to the contents of the will.
Florida courts have looked at various methods to fulfill these requirements. They had to decide whether a handwritten draft or a typewritten original qualifies as a correct copy. Neither qualifies. There must be a carbon copy of the original instrument.
If you go through the effort of drafting a will, make sure you keep it in a safe place, but also inform someone you trust as to its whereabouts. Last thing you want is to pass away with a will, but no one can find the original or a copy of it.
If you live in Miami-Dade, Broward, or Palm Beach counties it is time to start preparing your estate-planning portfolio. Take charge of your last wishes and make sure your loved ones receive from your estate when you are gone. You can't predict the future, but you can plan for it.
Contact an experienced estate-planning attorney at The Hershey Law Firm, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at (954) 303-9468 to discuss your estate planning needs.