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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 118070
Experience:  Experienced in Trust and Succession Law, including Louisiana Laws
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My brother lived in Broward County Florida. He initially drew up a will by an attorney naming two individuals who predeceased him as beneficiaries. These individuals were named as heirs to his estate. Both of these individuals predeceased my brother. One of these predeceased individuals was a "domestic partner" and the other individual was our sister. The initial will had a clause stating, "In the event that "Jane Doe" shall predecease myself or "Bill Jones" then her share shall go in accordance with her last Will and Testament or in pursuant to the laws of intestacy."

Subsequently, both of these individuals predeceased my brother. He "amended" this will by crossing out their names and indicating their dates of death and initialing it in his handwriting.

Shortly before his death he drew up another will which was "handwritten." In this will he named me as, his brother, as Executor and heir to all of his worldly goods and possessions in case of his demise. This includes all real and personal property to dispose of or keep as my brother "John" sees fit.

This will was drawn up and notorized by a Florida attorney in her own office. The attorney stated to us, as I was present with my brother at that time, that this handwritten will needed no other witnesses.

These are my questions:

1. Is the first will still legal and binding? And if so, the clause stating:

" "In the event that "Jane Doe" shall predecease myself or "Bill Jones" then her share shall go in accordance with her last Will and Testament or in pursuant to the laws of intestacy." Does this mean that my sisters "heirs," sons and daughters are to be the beneficiaries of of my brothers estate?

&nb sp;                            Or

2. Does the handwritten document supercede the previous will? And if so, is this second document legal and binding?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 8 years ago.

A will can be revoked or changed up until the death of the testator. To revoke a will, a person can simply tear it up, burn it or otherwise destroy the document. A person may also execute a new will, which automatically revokes an earlier will. If a person wishes to make a few changes to a will, he or she can have a codicil drawn up. A codicil is an addition or amendment to an existing will and must be signed and witnessed in the same manner as a will. Anyone wanting to change his or her will should never simply cross something out or otherwise write on the will. Writing on a will may invalidate it. An handwritten (holographic) will is valid in FL as long as it complies with the below law.

732.502 Execution of wills.--Every will must be in writing and executed as follows:

(1)(a) Testator's signature.--

1. The testator must sign the will at the end; or

2. The testator's name must be subscribed at the end of the will by some other person in the testator's presence and by the testator's direction.

(b) Witnesses.--The testator's:

1. Signing, or

2. Acknowledgment:

a. That he or she has previously signed the will, or

b. That another person has subscribed the testator's name to it,

must be in the presence of at least two attesting witnesses.

(c) Witnesses' signatures.--The attesting witnesses must sign the will in the presence of the testator and in the presence of each other.

(2) Any will, other than a holographic or nuncupative will, executed by a nonresident of Florida, either before or after this law takes effect, is valid as a will in this state if valid under the laws of the state or country where the will was executed. A will in the testator's handwriting that has been executed in accordance with subsection (1) shall not be considered a holographic will.

(3) Any will executed as a military testamentary instrument in accordance with 10 U.S.C. s. 1044d, Chapter 53, by a person who is eligible for military legal assistance is valid as a will in this state.

(4) No particular form of words is necessary to the validity of a will if it is executed with the formalities required by law.

(5) A codicil shall be executed with the same formalities as a will.

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