Like other Palm Beach residents who are just beginning the estate planning process, you may have numerous questions. For instance, you may know that wills are considered the cornerstone of estate plans. However, you may not understand how a will functions upon death or what may be included in it. Moreover, you may not realize what it takes to ensure that a court rules your will as valid when the time comes to administer your estate.
Without some basic requirements, a will may not live up to the scrutiny of the court. For example, in order for a will to be valid, the person making it must be of sound mind. In other words, you must understand the nature of your estate, that you are making arrangements to dispose of your assets and the effect of your will.
As important as being of sound mind is the fact that you made the will voluntarily. If anyone influences your decisions or coerces you into signing it, it may not be valid. In addition, the court may want to make sure that you were under no duress when you created and executed your will.
You must also be old enough to legally execute a will. In most states, this means that you must be at least 18 years old, a member of the military or married. Your will must also be witnessed by two people and notarized at the time you sign it. These individuals can attest to the fact that you are of age, of sound mind and voluntarily signing the document.
These are just the basics of what makes wills valid. Other circumstances may also affect whether your will would be upheld by a court when the time comes. Perhaps the most practical way of making sure that your surviving loved ones will be able to rely on your will upon your death is to seek out the advice and assistance of an estate planning attorney here in Palm Beach.
Source: FindLaw, “What Is a ‘Valid Will’?“, Accessed on May 12, 2018