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Can I Make A Video Will And Upload It To YouTube? Is That Valid Under Florida Law?

EstatePlanning3

Under Florida law, a last will and testament must be in writing and signed in the presence of at least two witnesses. These requirements are strictly enforced by the courts. To put it another way, a will is not something you want to “experiment” with. For instance, you should not videotape a will and put it on YouTube and think that will be considered valid.

Indeed, even before the Internet existed, there was a popular trope in fiction regarding so-called “video wills” that a lawyer would play to grieving family members for dramatic (or comical) effect. This particular trope likely came from the practice of having a lawyer read a will to the family–something that is not commonly done today.

Holographic and Oral Wills

As far as Florida is concerned, these types of non-written wills simply do not exist. State law expressly forbids probate of either a “holographic” or “nuncupative” will. But what exactly do those terms mean?

A holographic will has nothing to do with holographic technology. Rather, it is the legal term for a will made entirely in a person’s own handwriting. Many states do recognize holographic wills, provided they are written and signed by the testator. Such wills do not typically need to be witnessed. But in Florida, this is a no-go. In theory, a will could be in handwriting rather than typed, but it still needs to be witnessed by two people.

A nuncupative will simply means an “oral will.” This would include something like a person purporting to upload a recording of themselves disposing of their property to YouTube. Again, there are some states that will accept a nuncupative will, although often under extreme conditions, such as a person who is on their deathbed and speaking their last words. Even then, if there is already a written will that has been previously signed and witnesses, that will take priority over any spoken words.

The thing is, even if a holographic or nuncupative will was made by a person when they were living in a state that permits such things, once they move to Florida any such “wills” lose all legal force. Florida law explicitly refuses to recognize out-of-state holographic and nuncupative wills. However, if a person has a written will that met the legal requirements of their previous state, it may still be valid in Florida even if it does not meet some other technical requirement of this state’s laws.

Keep in mind, if a person dies without leaving a legally enforceable will, Florida intestacy laws will apply to their probate estate. This means that the law decides who will receive the deceased person’s property, regardless of what their wishes might have been.

Speak with a Sarasota Probate Attorney Today

The bottom line is that it is always best to have a properly drafted written will designed to expressly comply with Florida law. An experienced Brandenton wills and probate lawyer can help you with this process. Contact the offices of Moran Sanchy & Associates today to schedule an initial consultation with a member of our estate planning team.