My Aunt passed and the only will we could find was a copy she was making changes on. She had dementia and was declared incompetent by the state and assigned a court ordered guardian. The closest relatives she had are 2 nieces. She never had children. Is the marked up copy of her will valid? It was not witnessed by anyone.
State/Country relating to question: Florida
Trying to work with the lawyer that was assigned for the guardianship but she doesn't seem to have time to help. Says she is just so busy. She seems to be unsure if the will is good or not.
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Good evening. Unfortunately, a marked up copy not signed or witnessed would not constitute a valid will under Florida law. If there is no other full executed and witnessed will, then she would be deemed to have died intestate and her estate would pass pursuant to the Florida intestate succession laws.
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Not sure if I was clear enough earlier. The will is a copy, no original could be found. It was properly signed. She marked the copy up. We have no clue if there was another will after that one. Her lawyer, upon her death, thinks there were no others. Is the marked up "copy" constitute a valid will in Florida?
Yes, was the copy only signed, but not witnessed?
The copy is just a photo copy of the original will that was signed and witnessed. No original can be found.
Thanks. Florida courts will accept copies if the original cannot be found, but its a very time-consuming and expensive hearing process, with live testimony required to "establish a lost will." If the result of that will would be the same as the intestacy process...i.e, the two nieces would divide the estate....,then usually there is no reason to go through the expense, delay and uncertainty of getting the copy accepted. If there would be different results, then you may want to pursue having the copy accepted.
29 Years Practicing Law - Including Tax and Estate Planning
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