A will is one of the most important legal documents that you will ever have prepared; it is perhaps the only way to truly ensure that the assets and estate that you leave behind will be allocated according to your wishes. Because of their importance, wills have certain requirements that must be met in order for them to be considered valid. If these requirements are not met, your will may not be recognized after you are gone.
It may not surprise you to learn that there is an age restriction on the validity of a will. As with many things in our country, you must be of legal age in order to make your own decisions, and this extends to a will. If you are younger than 18 years old, your will may not be valid. Less predictable requirements include:
- Voluntary. The creation and signing of the will must be performed on a voluntary basis by the testator. A will that resulted from coercion is not considered legally binding.
- Testamentary capacity. This means that you must demonstrate that you are of sound mind when making the will.
- Witnessed by other parties. In order for a will to be considered valid, you must not only sign and date the will but do so under the supervision of two impartial, disinterested witnesses. These witnesses must also sign the will.
These are just a few of the common requirements for a valid will. The laws for what makes a will valid can vary by state, and depending on the circumstances of your health or the size of your estate, there may be additional unexpected issues surrounding the creation of your will. One of the best ways to ensure that your will is valid and comprehensive is to contact an attorney and discuss your options with a legal profession.