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What has to happen for a will to be valid?

It's hard to imagine someone you love passing away, but it does happen. When it does, you may be the person who is assigned to help execute the individual's will.

Before any will can be executed, it needs to be proven to be valid. All wills have a few things that must be present. These things include:

  • A valid signature
  • A voluntary signature
  • Being of a legal age (18 or older) when signing
  • Having testamentary capacity
  • Properly disposing of the testator's property
  • Witnesses (at least two other parties) as well as being dated

If a will doesn't have all of these things, then it may not be allowed to stand as valid.

Does a will have to be typed?

No, it doesn't have to be. In fact, a will can be handwritten across multiple pages. Some are even oral (they are not advised but may be legal in some circumstances). When a will is handwritten, it's important that the will is signed and dated by the testator in front of two witnesses. Those witnesses also must be "disinterested" witnesses, which means that they should not personally benefit from the will in any way.

What happens if a will isn't valid?

If a will is found not to be valid, then you may need to take the estate through probate. This is a longer, more tedious process. If you have to go through probate, it's a smart idea to reach out to an attorney to help guide you through it because the laws of the state will apply to the estate.

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