creighton Mclean & shea PLC attorneys at law

What is required for a will to be valid?

On Behalf of | Mar 3, 2020 | Estate Planning |

Having a valid will that is part of an effective overall estate plan is important for any estate planner who has taken the time to develop an estate plan. Estate planning is important for everyone because it can provide peace of mind for estate planners and their family members which is why having a valid will that is part of the estate plan is important.

Legal requirements for a will to be valid can vary by state so it is important for the estate planner to know what the requirements are in their state when they are drafting and executing their will. The first requirement for a will to be valid is that the estate planner is of legal age to make a will. The legal age to make a will is typically 18. In addition, the estate planner must have what is referred to as testamentary capacity.

Testamentary capacity requires that the estate planner is of sound mind when executing their will. Sound mind requires that the estate planner knows that they are making a will and understands the impact of the will; that the estate planner understands the nature and extent of their estate; and that the estate planner understands that the will disposes of the estate planner’s property and assets. In addition, the estate planner must have the intention to make a will and must make their will voluntarily. The latter requires that there be no undue influence, coercion or duress when the will is made.

Lastly, there are also commonly witness and signature requirements that can also vary by state so an estate planner executing their will should ensure they are meeting their state’s requirements. A valid will can help ensure that the wishes of the estate planner are fulfilled and prevent disputes during a difficult time for family and loved ones which is why it is essential for estate planners to know how to make one.


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Creighton McLean & Shea PLC

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