A will is an important document that can accomplish the estate planner’s wishes and ensure their family members and loved ones are cared for. For that reason, estate planners should know what to include in a will and also know how to meet the requirements for a valid will.
What are the requirements for a will
To be considered a valid will, a will needs to meet certain requirements. These requirements can vary by state so estate planners should know what the requirements are where they are at. In addition to knowing who they want to designate as beneficiaries and what property and assets they want to go to which beneficiary, the estate planner should ensure their will meets certain requirements including:
- Legal age – the legal age to execute a will is commonly 18 which is usually the age when an individual can enter into a legal contract.
- Testamentary capacity – testamentary capacity requires the estate planner to be of sound mind which requires that the estate planner knows they are making a will and knows its effect; understands the nature of extent of their estate; and understands that they are using the will to dispose of their property and assets.
- Intent – the estate planner must also have the intent to make and execute a will.
- Voluntary – the estate planner must execute their will voluntarily which means there is no undue influence, duress or coercion in the formation of the will.
- Signature and witness requirements – commonly the estate planner must sign the will in front of two disinterested witnesses who must also sign the will. This requirement can be different in different places so estate planners should know what is required where they are at.
Make sure to be familiar with the process
Estate planning is important for everyone and estate planners should be familiar with the basics of an estate plan and a will but also be aware of estate planning tools that might address their specific concerns for their estate. An estate plan should provide the estate planner with peace of mind that things will be left how they want them.