A will is an important component of most estate plans. For that reason, estate planners will want to ensure that their will is a valid and to do that need to know what the components of a valid will are.
- Legal capacity: estate planners must have legal capacity to execute their will. Generally what is required for legal capacity is that the estate planner is over the age of 18.
- Testamentary capacity: estate planners must have testamentary capacity to execute their will. Testamentary capacity typically requires that the estate planner is of sound mind. Sound mind requires the estate planner to know they are making a will and the effect of the will; understand the nature and extent of their estate; and understand that they are disposing of their property and assets.
- Intent: estate planners must have the intent to dispose of their property and execute a will.
- Voluntariness: estate planners must voluntarily execute a will which requires that there is duress or coercion in the execution of the will.
- Signature and witness requirements: estate planners must also comply with signature and witness requires when they execute their will which can vary by state. Typically, the estate planner is required to sign their will in the presence of two disinterested witnesses that must also sign the will.
The will must also make a proper disposition of property to be valid. Estate planning includes a variety of different components and because a will can be a foundation of an estate plan it is important for estate planners to know what is required for a will to be valid.