What Are the Requirements of a Legitimate Will?

In order for a will to be valid, it should abide by certain legal rules. There are dire effects of a will not following these rules, including the decedent’s estate being dispersed according to the guidelines of intestacy and the will being entirely ignored. While the legal requirements vary by state, here are some guidelines that lots of states have relating to the development of a legitimate will.

Age of Majority

In order for an individual to make a valid will, she or he requires to be of legal age. In a lot of states, the age of majority is 18. However, there may be exceptions, such as being married or a member of the United States armed force.

Legal Capacity

The individual making the will must be of sound mind at the time of the development of the will. The test to determine if the individual has the requisite capability is if the testator knows that she or he has actually made a will, understands its result, comprehends the nature and degree of the estate and comprehends what she or he is disposing of.

Voluntary Intent

Additionally, a testator must carry out a will voluntarily. If she or he was coerced into signing a will or signed it under pressure, the will is not thought about to be valid. Rather, she or he must have the intent of making a revocable personality of property that works at the time of death.

Named Property

A will must get rid of property that becomes part of the decedent’s estate. It might list all property and assets that the testator owned at the time the will was developed as part of the text of the will or in a separate schedule that is referenced in the will.


The will need to mention that the property is being disposed of by moving it to a specific individual or entity that is ascertainable. This might be to an individual, service, group of individuals (such as my children or my living grandchildren) or charitable organization.


An administrator should likewise be named in a will. This is the individual who follows the guidelines of the will. If an executor is not noted, the court may appoint one.


Even if a will is handwritten, there may still be witnesses that are needed. The majority of states need that there be at least 2 witnesses who see the testator sign his/her will. The witnesses might likewise require to confirm that they saw the other witness indication. While the witnesses may in some cases be the beneficiaries, lots of states need witnesses to be indifferent parties. The witnesses sign and date the will. They may likewise sign an affidavit that states their authentication of the will and their signature.


If a testator has a partner, the will ought to note what is to be offered him or her. All states have laws that protect the spouse from being disinherited. Some states enable the enduring partner to take an optional share of the estate and ignore the provision including the partner in the will. This elective share is usually one-half or one-third of the estate, per state law. People who wish to develop limitations on the property that they delegate their spouses might do so by establishing trusts.

Provisions for Minor Kid

All states other than Louisiana permit a testator to disinherit a child. Numerous states require the testator to specifically discuss the child and that he or she is being disinherited.

Composed Requirements

The will must usually be composed. It might be typed and signed. Some states recognize holographic wills that are handwritten. A couple of states acknowledge oral wills as long as they satisfy particular conditions.

Signing Requirements

Although the will must be signed, states differ regarding this requirement. For instance, some states require that the will be signed at the end while others only need that it be signed somewhere in the file. The legal requirement might allow for the testator to sign with a nickname or even an “x.” The test is frequently if the testator planned for the mark to be his or her signature. Some states also permit an individual to assist the testator in signing if she or he has physical difficulty in doing so.

Legal Ceremony

State law may require that there be an official event when signing the will. This event may require that unnecessary people be removed from the room and that specific recitations be made.

Related posts