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Create Your Online Will in Florida: Estate Planning Simplified

If you live in Florida, you can make your last will and testament online. Use this guide to learn how to create your online will in Florida.

Patrick Hicks

Patrick Hicks, @PatrickHicks

Head of Legal, Trust & Will

Estate planning is an important practice that will give you peace of mind knowing that your loved ones are protected, no matter what may come your way. Creating your Will allows you to take control over making sure important matters aren’t left up to chance. 

The overall process of creating Wills is similar from state to state, but the specific requirements often vary. This is because the laws that govern estate plans and Wills are created by state governments instead of the federal government. If you plan to make an online Will in Florida, then you must take care to satisfy the requirements set forth by Florida statutes in order for your Will to be valid. This guide will provide an overview of what you need to know about making a Will online in the Sunshine State. 

What You Need to Know About Making a Will Online in Florida

The process of creating a valid Will in Florida is determined by state statutes. The laws regarding the execution of a Will can be found in the 2023 Florida Statutes, Intestate Succession and Wills § 732.502.

An online Will is recognized by Floridian probate courts so long as the above-cited legal requirements are satisfied. Trust & Will breaks down these legal requirements over the next several sections by answering some frequently asked questions on the topic. 

How Much Does a Will Cost in Florida?

On average, you can expect to spend roughly $200 to $1,000 on a Will in Florida. These are estimates that vary widely depending on three factors: method of execution, attorney fees, and complexity of the estate.

For example, an individual with a particularly robust or complex estate plan with special provisions may hire one of the most experienced estate planning attorneys in the state. This person’s estate planning costs will likely be in the higher range. The cost may even rise to several thousand dollars if they wish to establish a Trust. 

However, most individuals have a relatively simple estate with straightforward objectives. Trust & Will’s online estate planning platform provides Florida residents with an affordable alternative. You can create your state-specific online Will through our platform at a fraction of the cost.

Are Online Wills Legal in Florida?

Yes, both online Wills and eWills are legal in Florida.

On June 7, 2018, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the Electronic Documents Act (House Bill 483), which took effect on July 1, 2020. Florida became one of the first states in the nation to allow electronic Wills

This means that not only can residents of the Sunshine State create their Wills online, they may also witness, execute, and notarize their Wills electronically. Prior to this expansion of the statutes, a Will could be created online but still had to be printed on paper, signed, and witnessed physically. Today, an eWill can remain in its digital format from end to end, never having to be reduced to paper. Check out this article on how to create an electronic Will (eWill) in Florida.

With this exciting news in mind, here are the legal requirements for making an online Will:

  • You must be at least 18 years of age or an emancipated minor

  • You must be of sound mind and memory

  • You must sign the Will at the end

  • Two witnesses must also sign the Will 

While these legal requirements remain the same, Florida now allows electronic or digital-only Wills. These are Wills that are signed and witnessed electronically. The state also allows Testators to connect with notaries and witnesses remotely using audio-visual services. 

To make a valid eWill in Florida, these additional requirements must be followed:

  • Must be signed before a notary public

  • Must be provided to a qualified custodian upon execution

A qualified custodian is someone who is a resident of and domiciled in Florida. They can also be an incorporated business. The custodian maintains an electronic records system to store eWills and the recording of the notarization session. 

Is It Legal to Write Your Own Will in Florida?

Yes, you can write your own Will in Florida. The Sunshine State does not require you to work with an attorney.

However, note that holographic Wills are not recognized as valid in Florida. These are Wills that are handwritten and signed by the Testator only. In the case of a holographic Will, it will not be legally binding and will be treated as though you died without a Will. Instead, you must make sure to sign your Will in the presence of two witnesses, who must also sign the Will in your presence. 

Writing your Will on your own may leave you vulnerable to errors and pitfalls that could render your wishes legally unenforceable. Instead, we highly recommend obtaining professional estate planning support. Some individuals choose not to work with an attorney for specific reasons, such as wanting to keep their private information to themselves, or finding attorney fees cost-prohibitive.

Whatever the reason may be, an alternative solution to consider is creating a Will using a trustworthy platform. For example, Trust & Will’s estate planning platform offers state-specific estate plans so you can have peace of mind knowing that your Will is compliant in Florida and will achieve your desired outcomes. We also offer bank-level security to protect your private information.

What Makes a Will Valid in Florida?

The following outlines the legal requirements for a valid online Will in Florida:

  • The Will must be in writing.

  • The Testator (the person writing the Will) must be at least 18 years old (unless they are an emancipated minor) and be of sound mind.

  • The Testator must sign the Will at the end, in front of two witnesses.

  • Your witnesses can be any generally competent adult. Choosing beneficiaries as your witnesses will not invalidate your Will. However, this is generally discouraged as it can create conflicts of interest.

  • After they see the Testator sign the Will,  the witnesses must also sign the Will in the Testator’s presence. 

If you wish to execute a legally valid eWill, then you and your witnesses must sign the Will before a notary public and provide both the eWill and the recorded notary session to a qualified custodian.

Do I Need a Lawyer to File a Will in Florida?

No, you do not need a lawyer to make a Will in Florida. Generally speaking, Sunshine State laws do not require you to hire a lawyer to create or execute a valid Will. However, you may want to consult an estate planning professional for advice if you have a large estate or special conditions that you wish to meet. 

Otherwise, making your Will online is a reliable and convenient option. This is especially so when your wishes are straightforward and your estate is relatively simple. An online estate planning platform will guide you through the process of creating and executing a Will that is compliant in your state. 

How Do I Sign an Online Will in Florida?

Here are the steps to follow for signing and finalizing your online Will in Florida:

  1. Print out your Will unless it is electronic 

  2. Sign your Will at the end in front of two witnesses (can be an electronic signature)

  3. Have your two witnesses sign the Will in your presence (can be remote)

  4. Optional: Attach a separate notarized affidavit to make your Will self-proving*

*If you are signing an eWill, then both you and your witnesses must sign the Will in the presence of a notary public. This can be done remotely. Last but not least, the digital record of the Will and the notary session must be provided to a qualified custodian. 

Here are some special considerations to note:

  • The Florida Homestead Property and Spousal Elective Share protects surviving spouses. Your spouse is entitled to a part of your estate if you are not legally divorced.

  • You must intentionally use precise wording to disinherit an adult child. Simply omitting them will not work.

While you may sign and execute your Will at a single point in time, the above considerations highlight special circumstances one may encounter at any time. Luckily, maintaining an online Will through a platform like Trust & Will can make revising and updating your existing Will a more seamless experience. 

Do Wills in Florida Need to be Notarized?

No, a Will does not need to be notarized in Florida unless you plan to execute an eWill. However, it is an optional but encouraged action that you can take if you wish for your Will to be self-proving.   

If you plan to execute an eWill, the Sunshine State requires that you sign and witness it before a notary public. Now that Florida has enabled the recognition of both eWills and remote online notarization, getting your Will notarized is even easier. Trust & Will has partnered with Notarize, a trusted online notary service to allow for the seamless notarization of eWills online. 

During the notarization (online or physical), you and your witnesses will confirm your identities and make sworn statements. An affidavit is signed, notarized, and attached to the Will. This process proves that the notary knows who you are and confirms that each person was aware that they were signing the Will. 

If the Will is already self-proved, then the probate court won’t have to call upon the witnesses to testify regarding the Will’s validity. This can help minimize potential issues and allow the probate process to proceed more quickly.

Who Can Witness a Will in Florida?

Any competent adult can witness a Will in Florida. However, a Testator should be careful not to select a beneficiary (an interested party) as a witness. While Florida statutes do not automatically invalidate a Will if a beneficiary is a witness, this could be cause for conflicts of interest. It is generally advised to select a disinterested party to witness your Will to avoid any challenges.

How to Create Florida Last Will and Testament Online

Florida now recognizes eWills, making the online Will creation process even more seamless. Once you create your Will, you no longer have to print it out if you wish to maintain an electronic or digital format. This will provide a much more convenient and affordable alternative to estate planning the traditional way.

With this in mind, here is an overview of the steps of creating an online Will in Florida:

  1. Select a trusted online estate planning platform, service, or template.

  2. Draft your Will

  3. Review and finalize your Will

  4. Sign the Will (electronically allowed)

  5. Obtain signatures from two competent witnesses (digital allowed)

  6. Get your Will notarized if you want it to be self-proving and/or wish to execute an electronic Will (electronic/remote allowed)

  7. Store your Will in a secure storage space online, such as a digital vault*

  8. Review and revise your Will regularly

*For eWills, Florida statutes require that you provide your electronic record and notary session recording to a qualified custodian.

What Can I Include in an Online Will in Florida?

Here are some ideas on what can be included in your online Will:

  • An inventory of your property and assets

  • A list of your Beneficiaries

  • Gifts made to specific individuals or organizations

  • Your nominated Executor who should handle your estate

  • A Guardian for any minor or dependent children (or pets)

  • A named individual to manage property for dependent children

  • Last wishes regarding your remains, funeral, burial, cremation, etc.

  • Any final instructions or notes for loved ones

The contents of a Last Will and Testament vary widely based on an individual’s personal circumstances, as well as the objectives they wish to achieve. Must estate planning platforms such as Trust & Will will guide you through a series of questions and prompts to help create a Will customized to your unique needs.

Create Your Online Will in Florida Today

Florida is one of the first U.S. states to allow residents to create both online Wills and electronic Wills. Online Wills are Wills that are created online, but are eventually printed on paper for signing and witnessing. Electronic Wills remain in digital format from start to finish, and are never reduced to paper. They utilize audio-visual conferencing tools and electronic signatures. 

Regardless of the method you choose, one thing remains unchanged. The key to successfully creating an online Will in Florida is making sure that you satisfy state-specific requirements. Creating your Will online, no matter your location, is a convenient and affordable alternative to working with an estate planning attorney. This guide provided an overview of the online Will requirements in the Sunshine State that you should be aware of. 

At Trust & Will, we’re here to help keep things simple. You can create a fully customizable, state-specific estate plan from the comfort of your own home in just 20 minutes. Take our free quiz to see where you should get started, or compare our different estate planning and settlement  options today!

Trust & Will is an online service providing legal forms and information. We are not a law firm and we do not provide legal advice.