If you’re thinking about creating your will, you may have a lot of questions. This may include questions about what makes a will legal and valid. You want to make sure that your will meets all legal requirements so that your wishes are respected.
Take a look at the information below to learn more. If you have any questions or if you’d like help creating a legally valid will, meet with an estate planning attorney.
- In order to create a will, you must be at least 18 years of age. Children aren’t able to make a will.
- You must be of “sound mind” and capable of making decisions. You’re not able to make a will if you don’t understand your decisions or the consequences of your actions. You must understand the extent of your estate and the natural beneficiaries of your bounty (i.e. your spouse, children, and grandchildren.)
- You must be making your will without undue influence from others. If others force you to create a will, your will may be challenged and declared to be invalid.
- You have to sign the will at the end of the document in order for it to be valid.
- The document must follow the state requirements including being signed by a certain amount of witnesses and may also need to be notarized. It’s important to understand your state’s laws. California, for example, does not require notarization.
- Most states require a will to be typewritten and or computer generated. A hand written will is never recommended, even if it’s legal in your state. While California does allow handwritten, or holographic, wills, there are still legal requirements and many hand written documents purporting to be wills are not effective. Of equal concern is the ambiguities in self-help wills, which, although inadvertant, may require cost and time consuming legal proceedings to resolve.
When creating your will, it’s important to hire an estate planning attorney. This will ensure that you’re not only able to take advantage of valuable legal advice, but you’re also able to have satisfaction of knowing that your will is valid and legal. If you create your own will, you may make mistakes that could cost you and your loved ones in the future. You may also not understand some of the validity requirements.
Make sure that your will is legal and valid so that all of your wishes will be followed after your death. If you have any questions or if you’d like to create a will, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.