Section 732.503 of the 2011 Florida Statutes allows residents to create self-proving wills. A self-proving will is one that is self-authenticating. In other words, a Florida probate court will admit a decedent’s will into probate without requiring the testimony of the two independent witnesses who signed the will. Typically, a non-self-authenticating will is subject to the Florida Probate Code’s requirements for authenticating a decedent’s will. The normal probate process a Florida probate court follows after someone files a decedent’s will into probate is to authenticate his will as valid as his last will and testament.
The authentication process requires that the probate court locate the witnesses who signed their signatures attesting to the authentication of a decedent’s will. If the witnesses are not available because they are no longer alive, they have moved and cannot be located, or they are mentally incompetent, a probate court will have to establish authenticity in other ways. Generally, the authentication process can unnecessarily slow down the probate process. By self-proving your will and attaching an affidavit including signatures from two witnesses stating under oath that they personally witnessed you signing your will and including your own signature, it may become unnecessary to prove you validly executed your will. Once a notary includes an attestation clause and notarizes your affidavit, you can self-prove your will, and a probate court will not have to obtain the testimony of your witnesses. Our office can help you prepare the self-proving affidavit.