Having a valid will is key to ensuring the estate planner has an effective estate plan they can count on to ensure their wishes are fulfilled. As a result, it is important for estate planners to know what is required for a will to be valid which can vary by state so it is also essential for estate planners to know the rules in their state.
A valid will can serve a number of important purposes for the estate planner including specifying how their property should be distributed, who should serve as guardian to any minor children and who should have the responsibility for administering the estate. Because of the importance of a valid will, estate planners should be familiar with the requirements for a will to be considered properly executed. To begin with, a valid will requires that the estate planner be of legal age to execute a will which is usually over the age of 18.
In addition to being of legal age to execute a will, the estate planner must possess testamentary capacity to execute a will. Testamentary capacity generally refers to the estate planner being of sound mind which is determined by asking if the estate planner understands that they are making a will; understands the extent of their estate; and that they are disposing of their property or assets. The estate planner must also intend to make a will. The estate planner cannot be under any duress when signing their will and must voluntarily sign the will. Commonly, the will must be signed and dated by the estate planner and two other witnesses.
Additional requirements may also apply so estate planners should thoroughly understand the process of drafting and executing a will. Estate planning services can help estate planners ensure all the formalities necessary for their will to be valid are followed so they can have peace of mind that their property and assets will be distributed according to their wishes.