Knowing what it takes to make a will valid is an essential part of the estate planning process. Because of the critical role a will plays in a comprehensive estate plan, it is important that any will executed by the estate planner is valid so it can protect and honor their wishes.
A valid will requires several different components. To begin with, the estate planner must have legal capacity to enter into a will. Legal capacity to enter into a will generally requires that the estate planner is 18 years old or older. In addition to legal capacity, the estate planner must also have what is referred to as testamentary capacity. Testamentary capacity requires the estate planner to know that they are making a will and the effect of that will and that the will disposes of the estate planner’s property and assets.
Next, the estate planner must have intent to make a disposition of their property through their will. In addition, the signing of the will must be voluntary. There can be no undue influence or duress involved in the signing of a will for it to be valid. The estate planner must execute their will both freely and knowingly. Lastly, there are typically witness and signature requirements that may not be the same in every state so estate planners need to know what those are.
Estate planning is important for the protection of the estate planner and the estate planner’s family and loved ones. As a result, it is essential for estate planners to know how to properly execute a will included in their estate plan.