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What makes a will valid?

You may be contemplating writing a will. It is a great way to ensure that your family is taken care of after you pass away.  So, what do you need to do to make your will valid?

Vital information for making a will valid

When it comes to wills the laws are different in each state. However, for the most part when it comes to checking for a wills validity there are some things most states include:

  • Your age- you must be at least 18-years-old, a minor who is liberated from their parents or possibly joined the U.S. military.
  • Your signature- you are known as the testator. Your signature is needed for your will to be considered valid. That also includes writing the date. If you are physically unable to do it, it can be signed by someone else at your specific direction. The signature must be located at the end of your will. Your will can be written in your own handwriting on a piece of paper or typed. It will still be considered valid if you sign it. If your will is not signed, the court may declare it invalid.
  •  Testamentary capacity- this means that you are of sound mind when you write the will. You understand the property you own and are leaving to your family. If you possibly suffered from mental illness in the past and are lucid when you make the will it is considered that you have the testamentary capacity.
  • Intentional and voluntary- intentional means you have the intent of signing your will. Voluntary means it is done without pressure.
  • Witnesses- you must have at least two people witness you write and sign your will. It must be someone considered disinterested because they are not benefiting from your will. It is true that some states may permit interested witnesses to sign but an additional witness may be mandatory.

Let’s say, you forget to sign your will and for some reason your will is invalid, based on your state’s rules. There are two things that could happen.

  1. If you have a previous will your possessions would go to the beneficiaries listed in it.
  2. Depending on what state you live in when you die, your estate may pass under the intestacy laws. The property will go to your closest relatives, regardless of your wishes.

Before getting your affairs in order and preparing a will, it is good to be aware of what you need to make sure your will is valid. It is also best to check out your state laws.

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Carl Henry Franklin, Attorney at Law
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Shreveport, LA 71106-6914

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