Having a valid will is important for estate planners to ensure their wishes will be fulfilled and that their property and assets will go to who they want them to go to. For that reason, estate planners should be familiar with the elements of a valid will.
What is required for a will to be valid?
There are several elements of a valid will including:
- Legal capacity – for a will to be valid, the estate planner must have legal capacity. This typically refers to the estate planner being of the age to execute a will which is typically 18 years old or older.
- Testamentary capacity – for a will to be valid, the estate planner must also have testamentary capacity. Testamentary capacity includes that the estate planner knows that they are making a will and understands the effect of the will; that the estate planner understands the extent of their estate; and that the estate planner understands they are using the will to dispose of their property and assets included in their estate.
- Testamentary intent – testamentary intent is also required for a will to be valid and requires that the estate planner intends to dispose of their property and assets using the will.
- Voluntariness – for a will to be valid, the estate planner must voluntarily dispose of their property and assets using the will.
- Signature and witness requirements – signature and witness requirements are important for a will to be valid. These requirements can vary but typically require the estate planner to sign the will in the presence of two disinterested witnesses.
In addition, the will must property dispose of the estate planner’s property. Estate planning is an important step for everyone to take and estate planning tools can help make the process painless which is why it is helpful to be familiar with what is required to execute a valid will.