Factors that must be present in a valid will vary from state to state, so it is wise to check your own state’s requirements. Certain elements are often necessary:
- Legal age: You must meet your state’s age requirements to make a will. Some states have exceptions for married minors and parents.
- Sound mind: You must know that you are making a will, how much property you have, and the names of the descendents or relatives who should share in your estate.
- Intention to transfer property: You must have a statement intentionally leaving some or all of your property to specific persons or entities.
- Written: Your will must be written.
- Properly signed: You must voluntarily sign your will, unless unusual circumstances such as illiteracy, illness, or accident prompt your lawyer to make alternative provisions.
- Properly witnessed: In most states, the signing of a formal will must be witnessed by at least two adults who understand that they are witnessing, are competent to testify in court, and are not receiving anything through the will.
- Properly executed: Your will must include a statement attesting that it is your will and a date and place of signing. It must be signed before witnesses in your presence and certify that all parties watched each other sign the document.
- a. What Constitutes a Valid Will?
- b. Types of Wills
- c. Will Kits and Forms
- d. Assets in a Will
- e. Changing a Will
- f. Dying Without a Will
Prepare Your Estate Plan belongs to a series called Legally Secure Your Financial Future. The series also includes information to help you organize important household papers and to communicate your health-care wishes.