When an estate planner has a will they can rest assured that their belongings will be distributed how they want them to be distributed and to who they want them to be distributed. Certain requirements must be met for a will to be valid so estate planners should also be familiar with what those are so they can ensure their will’s validity during the estate planning process.
- Legal age: the estate planner must meet legal requirements to execute a will. Legal age requirements may vary but typically require that the estate planner has legal capacity which is usually being over the age of 18.
- Testamentary capacity: the estate planner must meet the requirements for testamentary capacity to execute a will. Testamentary capacity is a legal requirement that refers to the estate planner being of sound mind which requires that they know they are making a will and the effect of that will; that they understand the nature and extent of what is included in their estate; and that they are disposing of their property and assets with the will.
- Intent: the estate planner must have the intent to execute a will and to dispose of their property and assets using the will.
- Voluntariness: the estate planner must voluntarily enter into the will. They must not be coerced or suffer duress in the signing of the will.
- Witness and signature requirements: the estate planner’s will must meet witness and signature requirements that can vary by jurisdiction. Generally, the estate planner must sign the will in front of two disinterested witnesses who also sign the will.
Having a valid will is an important part of an estate plan which can help the estate planner plan for the future and how they want their loved ones to be cared for. Knowing and meeting the requirements for a valid will is just as important as having one in the first place.