There are specific requirements for a will to be valid. Because a will is such an important part of an estate plan, estate planners should know how to ensure that their will is valid. The requirements for a will to be valid can also vary by state so estate planners should be familiar with the rules in their state for a valid will.
There are some general rules, however, for a will to be valid that are typically followed. To execute a valid will, the estate planner must be of legal age which is usually 18 years old. In addition, the estate planner must have testamentary capacity which means that the estate planner is of sound mind such that the estate planner knows they are executing a will and know the effect of the will; know the nature and extent of their estate; and understand that the will is being used to dispose of their property or assets.
In addition to being of legal age and having testamentary capacity, the estate planner must also have intent to dispose of their property and assets through the will. The estate planner must also execute the will voluntarily which means there cannot be any duress, undue influence or coercion in the formation of the will. There are also commonly signature and witness requirements that can also vary by state so it is essential for estate planners to be familiar with the requirements in their state.
A valid will is an essential part of any estate plan and because it serves as the foundation for most estate plans, taking the requirements of a valid will seriously is important. Getting an effective estate plan set up can be a weight off the estate planner’s mind which is why estate planners should know how to ensure their will is valid.