Having a valid will is an important part of the estate planner distributing their real assets and property to their beneficiaries. Estate planning involves many components and, typically, a will as part of that. Estate planners should understand what is required for a will to be valid so they can accomplish their wishes with their estate plan.
Legal age and testamentary capacity
The estate planner must be of legal age to execute a will. The legal age to execute a will is commonly 18 years old. The estate planner must meet the requirements for testamentary capacity which includes that they know they are making a will and understand the effect of the will; that they understand the nature and extent of their estate; and that they understand that they are using the will to dispose of their real estate, assets and property.
Intent to execute and voluntary in nature
The estate planner must have the intent to execute a will that disposes of their property. The estate planner must enter into their will voluntarily. There cannot be any duress, undue influence or coercion in the making or executing of the will for it to be valid.
Witness and signature requirements
The estate planner must also ensure their will meets witness and signature requirements. Typically, a will must be signed by the estate planner in front of two witnesses that do not have an interest in the will. Witness and signature requirements can vary by state, however, so estate planners need to know what requirements in place where they are executing their will.
A valid will is an important part of an estate plan and is used to distribute the estate planner’s assets and property to their loved ones as they want it to be distributed. To provide them with the assurance their belongings will go to the loved ones they choose, estate planners should ensure their will is valid and their estate plan is complete.