What is a Valid Will?

A will is a legally-binding document and its effects are important to you and your loved ones. Having a will can enable you to properly distribute and leave your assets to your loved ones.

A will that has been executed properly would allow you to state how exactly you want your estate and your affairs will be handled when you die.

The rules on making a will vary, depending on your state of residence. However, a will is generally not valid until certain requirements are fulfilled:

Legal Age

Legal age in most states is 18 years and above. Others may also consider you as having a legal capacity to make a will if you have been lawfully married or a member of the US Military.

Testamentary Capacity

A person is said to have testamentary capacity if they are of sound mind. This means that the person making the will should be fully aware of what they are doing and understand the full effects of their decisions and actions.


Intent is signified by affixing your signature to a will, with the purpose of making an irrevocable disposition of your assets upon your death.


A will must be made by the testator absent any force or coercion from another person. If a will is signed while the testator was being forced to do so, then the will is not valid.

Proper Disposal of Property

A will should include a list of all assets and properties and the instructions on how they will be distributed depending on the wishes of the testator, such as to whom the property will be given.

Signed, Dated and Witnessed by Two Other Parties

It doesn’t matter how long or short a will is, as long as it contains the minimum details and requirement. And another very important requirement is that it is signed by the testator in front of two witnesses who will also sign the will. The witnesses must be disinterested parties, meaning they do not stand to benefit from the contents of the will.

Check with your state’s estate planning laws for more information on the formalities of making a will. Work with an estate planning lawyer who could help guide you through the process of making a valid will.

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