A will is a hard thing to write. Not only because of the haunting, macabre nature of it. There are also a lot of requirements to consider before it is legally valid.
If you miss any of these will requirements, it may not hold up in court. Each state may have different requirements but many of them are standard. Do not do your family a disservice by violating proper procedures.
For your family’s sake, read the information below to properly proceed with your last will and testament.
You Must Be of Age
Any document forged by a minor has no legal precedence. This includes a living will.
If you’re underage, you will need a parent or guardian to act on your behalf. Have a lawyer assist with this process. A signature from a minor (under 18-years-old) must have parental validation.
Signing It Voluntarily
All testators must sign their living will voluntarily. This may be difficult to prove, but it is the law.
If a will is written and signed under distress or any malintent, the document is void. This is obviously for the protection of the signee.
Select a Beneficiary
For a will to be valid, it must have a beneficiary. This can be anyone. Or it can be a group of people.
The court needs to know how to divvy the estate after you have passed. Without a proper beneficiary, this is impossible.
Make sure to list everyone that you think deserves your inheritance. Anyone excluded from will has no legal claim to your possessions after you are gone (excluding some extreme cases, of course).
Witnesses Are Will Requirements
This isn’t a federal law, but some states do require witnesses during the signing. Most states mandate at least two witnesses be present at the time of signing.
This is, again, for the protection of those creating the document. It also protects those that will or won’t earn an inheritance. Having witnesses is very important credence in law cases.
You may disinherit some people from your will. Disinheriting is the act of removing a beneficiary from their claim to some portion of your estate.
However, some family members may be exempt from this. People like your spouse have an automatic claim to up to one-half of your estate. If there are dependents that rely on you, you must take care of them.
But these caveats vary state-to-state. Check with your state law department for more info.
Will You Write Your Will?
Sitting down and writing your will feels like you’re signing death’s ticket. But, in reality, it’s a precautionary measure to ensure that your family is secure. Make sure you follow the will requirements.
You should be of age and in the right mind when signing the document. Make sure you select your beneficiaries and who you want to exclude. Some states require witnesses, bring some for good safety.
Do you need more help writing your living will? Check out our other articles on writing an up-to-code will.