A will is a written direction controlling the disposition of property at death. The laws of each state set the formal requirements for a legal will. In Florida:
- You, the maker of the will (called the testator), must be at least 18 years old.
- You must be of sound mind at the time you sign your will.
- Your will must be written.
- Your will must be witnessed in the special manner provided by law for wills.
- It is necessary to follow exactly the formalities required for the execution of a will.
- To be effective, your will must be proved in and allowed by the probate court.
No will becomes final until the death of the testator, and it may be changed or added to by the testator by drawing a new will or by a “codicil,” which is simply an addition or amendment executed with the same formalities of a will. A will’s terms cannot be changed by writing something in or crossing something out after the will is executed. In fact, writing on the will after its execution may invalidate part of the will or all of it.