Legal Requirements for a Valid Will

Making a will is an important legal aspect of your life that can bring important consequences for your loved ones, once you die. You can draw up a will as simply as writing down the way you want your estate to be distributed after your death—but will that make the will legally valid?

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Almost all states have similar requirements when it comes to deciding the validity of wills. Generally, your will is considered to be legally valid if it adheres to the following requirements.

  • The testator should be or above the legal age in their jurisdiction. In most states, you’re considered to be of legal capacity if you are aged 18 or above, are lawfully married, or belong to the U.S. military.
  • The testator should be in ‘testamentary capacity’. In most case the term is used to reinstate that the testator has a sound mind. Which means they are aware of the will and its impact, and have a clear understanding of their estate and they way it will be disposed after their death.
  • A person, at the time of signing the will should have the testamentary intent for the particular legal document to serve as their last will.
  • The testator must have entered into the will voluntarily and signed it without any internal or external coercion. Any signs of coercion or duress at the time of signing will make the will invalid.
  • A will should have all the details necessary for the appropriate disposal of the estate-holder’s property.
  • Whether it is a page or several pages long, the will should be dated and signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses who do not have any personal interests in the will. The witnesses should also sign the will.

It is important to know that different states may have additional requirements that must be met in order to make the will legally enforceable. Do check your local laws for better understanding.