A will is an important document. It protects you, and it protects your family. It tells everyone your final wishes and can help distribute your property.
A will is a legally binding document so long as it is made when you are mentally competent and with the right witnesses. If you choose not to have a will, then your estate will go through probate upon your death. This process is much longer than if you had a will in place, which is why most people choose to have a will in place before their deaths.
How old do you have to be to have a will?
People as young as 18 years old may have wills if they are of sound mind. To make a will legally binding, you will need to have at least two witnesses sign the will while you and the other witnesses are present. You will acknowledge that the will is legal by signing it with your own name in front of these witnesses.
If you choose to have an oral will, remember that they are more difficult to prove in court. They are only allowed to be accepted if the person made the oral will at the time of imminent peril of death and will only be legal if they died at the time of that peril. Two disinterested witnesses must be present and write the will for submission to probate within six months of the testator's death. The maximum this will protects is $1,000 for civilians and $10,000 for military members during a time of war.