If I Have Assets in More Than One State, Do I Need More Than One Will?


Video Summary


If I have assets in more than one state do I need more than one will?  The answer to that is no, no, no.  You need to have one will and it says that I devise all my real and personal property wherever it is situated to, and then you say who you leave it to.  And so if the will is valid in the state where you execute it, then you can then use it to transfer or have the property probated in another state.  So you have one will and the other states will honor that will if it's honored in the state where it's executed.


There is one exception is if you have what they call a holographic will which is a hand-written will, some states allow that to be entered.  Florida requires all wills have at least two witnesses.  So the will must have two witnesses to be recognized by Florida.  But you only have one will and that covers all your asset no matter where they're situated.


Now you run into a problem if you have property outside the United States, particularly in Europe or some of the other countries and that we have the English common law and these other states are code states, like in France they have the Napoleonic code, they might have forced inheritance agreements.  And so you need to have that addressed.  And then whenever people from England or Europe come to see me here in Florida, I prepare a will for U.S. assets only that complies with Florida law because it is a nightmare trying to understand what the laws are of a foreign country in order to have them apply to the Florida assets.  And then you have other problems as far as community property states which we have seven of those are all west of the Mississippi, and that can affect who inherits your property and who's entitled to the property.  I’m not a community property expert but I know just enough to know that I don't know.


So but if you're a Florida resident you only need to have one will for wherever your assets are situated throughout the United States.  And if you have property in a foreign country I suggest that we have an attorney or a notaire in that particular country prepare an inheritance agreement so you know who will receive it whenever you pass away.


So if you have any questions about this, give me a call at 727-847-2288.