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What Makes a Will Valid

What Makes a Will Valid

The making of a will is a vitally important act, with far-reaching consequences. Since you cannot “take it with you” when you die, having a valid will is one of the few ways you can give back to those you love in a proper, legal manner.

A properly executed will allows you to specify exactly how you would like your estate handled upon your death, including how and to whom property should be divided, who should watch over your minor children (if any), and who should manage the administration of your estate. While the rules for making a will vary from state to state, certain formalities must be met. Generally, a will is not valid unless it fulfills the following requirements.

A person must be of legal age to make a will. Most states consider you to have legal capacity if you are 18 years of age or older, have been lawfully married, or are a member of the U.S. military.

In most states, a person has ‘testamentary capacity” if they have a sound mind, meaning the testator must know that he or she is making a will and its effect; understand the nature and extent of the estate; and understand that he or she is disposing of property and assets.

A person has intent to make a will if at the time of the signing, he or she intends to make a revocable disposition of property in the event of their death.

A will must be voluntarily entered into and signed by the testator. A will executed by a person who was coerced into signing the will, or who signed the will under duress, is not considered to be a valid will.

A will must properly dispose of the testator’s property. This includes listing all property and assets and properly distributing them among friends and family according to the testator’s wishes.

A will can be handwritten on a single piece of paper or elaborately typed within multiple pages, depending on the size of the estate and preference of the testator. It must also be signed and dated by the testator in front of two “disinterested” witnesses, who must also sign. Disinterested witnesses include those who will not personally benefit under the will (like beneficiaries). Because there may be other formalities for making a valid will, it is important that you check the Estate Planning Laws of your particular state. You should also make sure to choose the appropriate legal guardian for your minor children and appoint a trusted executor to tie up your important affairs.

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When you need legal help about a will or estate, please call Ascent Law for your free estate law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506
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About the Author

People who want a lot of Bull go to a Butcher. People who want results navigating a complex legal field go to a Lawyer that they can trust. That’s where I come in. I am Michael Anderson, an Attorney in the Salt Lake area focusing on the needs of the Average Joe wanting a better life for him and his family. I’m the Lawyer you can trust. I grew up in Utah and love it here. I am a Father to three, a Husband to one, and an Entrepreneur. I understand the feelings of joy each of those roles bring, and I understand the feeling of disappointment, fear, and regret when things go wrong. I attended the University of Utah where I received a B.A. degree in 2010 and a J.D. in 2014. I have focused my practice in Wills, Trusts, Real Estate, and Business Law. I love the thrill of helping clients secure their future, leaving a real legacy to their children. Unfortunately when problems arise with families. I also practice Family Law, with a focus on keeping relationships between the soon to be Ex’s civil for the benefit of their children and allowing both to walk away quickly with their heads held high. Before you worry too much about losing everything that you have worked for, before you permit yourself to be bullied by your soon to be ex, before you shed one more tear in silence, call me. I’m the Lawyer you can trust.