Ask Thomas Mitchell: Is My Will from Another State Valid in Florida?



I’m Tom Mitchell, a partner with the law firm of Waller & Mitchell, and I do estate planning here in the office.  And I frequently get questions from people that want to know if their will from up north is still valid now that they’ve moved to Florida, and the short answer is yes, it is still valid.  The United States Constitution has a provision that’s called the Full Faith and Credit Clause, and what it means is that states have to honor the laws of other states.  So if your will was valid in the state that it was drafted, then it will be valid here in Florida. 

Having said that, there are still a couple of reasons why you might want to consider rewriting your will once you’re down here.  First of all, you should be checking your will and rewriting it any time there’s a substantial change in your life situation and, the last time I heard, retiring and moving to Florida qualifies as a pretty substantial life changing situation.  And the second and more practical reason is that if there’s any issue about the validity of your will, such as being drafted in Pennsylvania or Ohio, the witnesses to the will are all located in Pennsylvania or Ohio, so they’re gonna have to be brought to Florida and put up while we have a trial to contest the validity of your will.  It’s a lot cheaper to pay $150.00 for a new husband and wife will than it is to fly in a bunch of people from Pennsylvania and put them up here for a week while we have a trial. 

So that’s just a  practical reason why even though your will might still be valid, you probably want to take a look at having it changed to a Florida will.  Maybe not the first month you’re here, but certainly in the first six months or a year you should.  We’re located at 5332 Main Street in New Port Richey, Florida.  Our telephone number is 727-847-2288.  Thanks.