What Is A Self Proving Affidavit?

The Benefits of a Self Proving Affidavit  

A self-proving affidavit to a will can save a tremendous amount of time. This affidavit saves the trouble of trying to prove Without the affidavit, when a will is admitted to the probate court, the witnesses to the will must authenticate the content of it. However, a self-proving affidavit removes that requirement and can accelerate the probate of a will. There are several requirements for a self-proving affidavit in the state of Florida.

Separate Sworn Affidavit

In addition to a duly executed will, the witnesses and testator must also sign a separate affidavit. This signing must take place before a notary public. Before the notary, the testator must declare that this will was his or her instrument and that the witnesses and testator all signed the will together, at the same time, in each other’s presence.

It’s important to realize that the self-proving affidavit signature does not need to occur at the same time as the will. It’s permissible if the parties sign this affidavit after the will has already been executed. Therefore, if you have a will, and don’t have a self-proving affidavit, you might want to consider signing one.

What happens if there is a lost will?

Florida specifies what will happen in case their will is missing. The lost or destroyed will statute says that certain actions must be taken to probate a lost or destroyed will. The first such requirement is that the personal representative must produce two witnesses to testify in court to the contents of the will. However, if a copy of the will exists, only one witness of the will is needed. These witnesses must be able to testify as to the contents.

Does a self-proving affidavit remove the need of witnesses if the will is lost? 

If a will is lost or destroyed, a self-proving affidavit does NOT change the requirements. The affidavit only works under circumstances when during the probate of the will. If a will is missing, then the probate cannot continue with just the self-proving affidavit. This would trigger the requirements under the lost or destroyed will statute.

Does an attestation clause change the requirements under a lost will?

An attestation clause is a clause in the will that qualifies as prima facie evidence that the will has been executed properly. This clause, unlike a self-proving affidavit, only provides evidence that the signatures on the will are authentic. Therefore, this clause does not replace a self-proving affidavit, it merely certifies the authenticity of the signatures.

Free Consultations for Wills

Our law firm has been serving will clients for over 30 years. We understand the legal complexities of the Florida statutes that govern the execution and probates of wills. If you have a question regarding a self-proving affidavit, attestation clause, or lost or destroyed will contact us today. You can fill out our Free Case Evaluation here or call our offices. You can reach our Sebastian office at (772) 589-5500 or our Vero Beach office at (772) 774-7771.