Summer 2014

E-Z Legal Forms May Not Be So Easy After All

Lee Philip Teichner
In what should be a shot in the arm to attorneys who draft wills and other testamentary devices to be construed under Florida law, the Florida Supreme Court recently underscored some of the inherent pitfalls when a member of the public uses a preprinted legal form will to devise personal and real property. Of foremost concern is that preprinted form wills often do not capture the testator’s true testamentary intent, particularly regarding property acquired after the execution of the will. In Aldrich v. Basile, 2014 WL 1240073 (Fla. 2014), decided March 27, 2014, Justice Parenti took the opportunity in her concurring opinion to highlight the cautionary tales and dangers of utilizing preprinted forms and drafting a will without the assistance of a lawyer and without a residuary clause or general devise.

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