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What makes a will valid?

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2021 | Estate Planning |

Many Fayetteville area residents have gone through the process of creating a will. This is a good way to ensure their wishes are followed when they pass away. But it is important to make sure the will is a valid legal document. So, what makes a will valid?

  • The will creator must be 18 or older and of sound mind. Sound mind means they have not been deemed incompetent in a prior legal proceeding.
  • The will must be in writing and signed by two witnesses. If the testator cannot sign the will, they can direct a witness or another party to do so.
  • Any individual who is competent can be a witness to a will, but it is recommended that they are not a beneficiary.
  • A notarized affidavit signed by the testator and witnesses can be included that attests to the fact the will was signed by the testator in the witness’s presence.
  • North Carolina recognizes holographic wills which is handwritten. They are valid without witnesses, but the testator must still sign it. It is good practice to have witnesses sign it in front of a notary.
  • North Carolina also recognizes a nuncupative will which is one that was orally made in front of two witnesses. North Carolina recognizes this type of will if the testator is dying from their last sickness or imminent peril. This type of will can only be used for personal property and not for real estate.

A legal professional who is skilled in estate planning can help their client with their estate planning documents. They can make sure the will is valid and that their client’s wishes will be followed upon their death.