Having a valid will is exceptionally important which is why estate planners need to know what makes a will valid when estate planning. There are several different components that wills must meet that estate planners should know as they are setting up their will to care for their loved ones.

Legal capacity

The estate planner must have legal capacity to enter into a will. Legal capacity usually refers to the age of the estate planner who must be over the age of 18 years to execute a valid will.

Testamentary capacity

The estate planner must also have testamentary capacity to enter into a will. Testamentary capacity refers to the estate planner being of sound mind to enter into a will. Sound mind means that the estate planner understands they are making a will and the effect of the will, understands the nature and extent of their estate and understands that the will is being used to dispose of their property and assets.

Intention and voluntariness

The estate planner must have intent to dispose of their property and assets using their will. The estate planner must enter into the will voluntarily. The voluntariness requirement is met if the estate planner was not impacted by coercion, duress or undue influence in the execution of their will.

Signature and witness requirements

The estate planner must meet signature and witness requirements in their state where they are executing their will. Witness requirements usually require two witnesses who do not have an interest in the will to witness the estate planner signing the will. Additionally, the two disinterested witnesses are typically required to also sign the will.

Having a valid will is an important part of an estate plan. Estate planners should be familiar with the requirements for a valid will so they can ensure all of those requirements are met.