This blog has discussed different ways a will may be contested. To help avoid will contest, it is helpful for estate planners and their families to understand the components of a valid will. So, what makes a will valid?

Legal capacity

The estate planner must be of legal age to enter into a will. Legal age to enter into a will is required and is usually the legal age to enter a contract. In most jurisdictions, the legal age to execute a will is 18.

Testamentary capacity

The estate lanner must also have testamentary capacity to enter into a will. Testamentary capacity refers to the estate planner knowing that they are making a will and the effect of the will; knowing the nature and extent of their estate; and understanding that they are disposing of their property and assets through the will. The estate must also be properly disposed of in the will.

Intent

The estate planner must have intent to enter into their will and dispose of their property and assets using the will.

Voluntary

The estate planner must execute their will voluntarily. There cannot be any duress, undue influence or coercion in the making of the will or in executing the will for the will to be considered valid.

Witness and signature requirements

The estate planner must meet witness and signature requirements in the jurisdiction where they are executing the will. Because these witness and signature requirements can vary, the estate planner needs to know what the requirements are where they are executing their will. Usually the will must be signed in front of disinterested witnesses who will not benefit from the will. Typically, two witnesses are required.

A valid will is an important part of an estate plan. For that reason, it is necessary to know what makes a will valid.