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Thursday, April 16, 2009

CLOSE PROXIMITY DOES NOT MEET WILL WITNESS REQUIREMENTS [FLORIDA]

For a Last Will to be valid in Florida, two witnesses must sign. Further, the two witnesses must sign in the testator’s and each other’s presence.

A recent Florida court indicates that if a witness is merely close by when the the other witness and the testator signs the Last Will, that alone is not enough to meet the “presence” requirement. In the subject case, one of the witnesses was in the same area, and perhaps even in the same room, but did not actually see the other witness or the testator sign the Last Will. Thus, while physically present, the witness’ mental absence from the signing process invalidated the Last Will.

Therefore, at a minimum, witnesses to a Last Will should be advised what is being signed, and instructed to observe the testator and the other witness when they sign.

Price v. Abate, et al., Fifth DCA, Case No. 5D08-2109 (March 6, 2009)

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