Many people equate an estate plan with a last will and testament. While there are many other elements in an estate plan, a will can be considered one of the most important. However, many people make mistakes when drafting their wills that make them invalid.
Learn the elements that are required to make a will valid.
How to Determine if a Will Is Valid
A will is a legal document that communicates how you want your wishes to be carried out upon your death. Since it is a legal document, it has certain criteria that must be met in order to be binding and enforceable, including the following:
- The will must be in writing. A will cannot be wishes that you told a friend or a family member in a conversation. Your wishes must be written down, either handwritten or typed, so that there is physical evidence of your wishes. There may be some confusion or legal issues if your will is a combination of handwritten and typed documents, so it’s best to stick to one method when drafting your will.
- The will must be signed. In order to be valid, a will must be signed by the testator. In addition to the testator’s signature, many states also require the signature of two witnesses at least 18 years of age.
- The will should be notarized. While this is not a required step, it can be very helpful down the line. If your loved ones do have to go through probate, a “self-proving affidavit” executed by appearing in front of a notary public can help prove a will’s validity.
Need Help with Estate Planning? Contact Us Today
A will is a necessary component of any estate plan. It’s in your best interest to contact an experienced estate planning attorney who can ensure your will is drafted according to state laws. Our attorneys at Pearson Butler are here to help you through the process.
Call Pearson Butler at (800) 265-2314 to schedule a consultation.