What Are the Requirements of a Valid Will?

In order for a will to be legitimate, it should abide by particular legal rules. There are dire repercussions of a will not following these rules, including the decedent’s estate being distributed according to the guidelines of intestacy and the will being totally overlooked. While the legal requirements vary by state, here are some guidelines that many states have regarding the creation of a legitimate will.

Age of Bulk

In order for an individual to make a legitimate will, he or she needs to be of legal age. In the majority of states, the age of majority is 18. Nevertheless, there may be exceptions, such as being wed or a member of the United States armed force.

Legal Capacity

The individual making the will need to be of sound mind at the time of the development of the will. The test to figure out if the individual has the requisite capability is if the testator knows that he or she has actually made a will, comprehends its effect, comprehends the nature and level of the estate and understands what he or she is dealing with.

Voluntary Intent

Additionally, a testator must execute a will voluntarily. If she or he was persuaded into signing a will or signed it under pressure, the will is ruled out to be legitimate. Rather, she or he should have the intent of making a revocable personality of property that is efficient at the time of death.

Called Property

A will need to deal with property that is part of the decedent’s estate. It may list all property and possessions that the testator owned at the time the will was created as part of the text of the will or in a different schedule that is referenced in the will.


The will must state that the property is being disposed of by moving it to a particular person or entity that is ascertainable. This may be to a person, company, group of individuals (such as my children or my living grandchildren) or charitable organization.


An administrator should also be called in a will. This is the person who follows the guidelines of the will. If an executor is not noted, the court may appoint one.


Even if a will is handwritten, there might still be witnesses that are required. Many states require that there be at least 2 witnesses who see the testator sign his or her will. The witnesses may likewise need to testify that they saw the other witness sign. While the witnesses may in some cases be the recipients, numerous states require witnesses to be indifferent parties. The witnesses indication and date the will. They might also sign an affidavit that states their authentication of the will and their signature.


If a testator has a spouse, the will must note what is to be provided for him or her. All states have laws that secure the partner from being disinherited. Some states permit the surviving spouse to take an optional share of the estate and disregard the provision including the spouse in the will. This optional share is normally one-half or one-third of the estate, per state law. People who want to establish constraints on the property that they leave to their partners may do so by developing trusts.

Provisions for Minor Kid

All states except Louisiana enable a testator to disinherit a child. However, many states need the testator to particularly point out the child which she or he is being disinherited.

Composed Requirements

The will should typically be composed. It might be typed and signed. Some states recognize holographic wills that are handwritten. A couple of states recognize oral wills as long as they satisfy specific conditions.

Signing Requirements

Although the will need to be signed, states vary as to this requirement. Some states need that the will be signed at the end while others just need that it be signed somewhere in the file. The legal requirement may permit for the testator to sign with a label or even an “x.” The test is frequently if the testator meant for the mark to be his or her signature. Some states also permit a person to assist the testator in signing if she or he has physical problem in doing so.

Legal Event

State law may require that there be an official event when signing the will. This ceremony might need that unnecessary people be eliminated from the room which specific recitations be made.

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