When it comes to planning your estate, there are several requirements that you will need to address in order for your last Will and testament to be valid. Your Will dictates how your assets will be distributed after you pass away. However, your Will can be challenged in a court of law, which is why it is crucial to make sure that your Will complies with the laws in your state.
Will Requirement #1: Sound Mind
The first requirement for a Will is that it must be signed by a person of sound mind. This means the person making the Will must have knowledge about what they own and how their assets will be distributed. Some families will attempt to make a Will after a person has died. When this occurs, the family usually runs into issues because a notary and the two witnesses cannot sign the Will because the person is dead, hence they are not of sound mind. Additionally, this particular action can be considered fraud or undue influence, which will result in the Will being invalidated if it is challenged.
Will Requirement #2: Witnesses
For a Will to be valid, 2 credible witnesses who are at least 14 years of age must be around when it is signed. The witnesses must also sign their names on the last page of the Will. Clearly mark page numbers on every page, this way no other pages can be added or removed between the time it is signed and the time the Will maker dies. At J. Roland Jeter, P.C., our office numbers each page of the Will and has the person making the Will sign their full signature on each page. The person who witnesses the signing of the Will also needs to have the mental capacity to understand what they are signing and must be at least 18 years old. Witnesses cannot be named as a beneficiary in the Will.
Will Requirement #3: Can’t Be Fraudulent
A Will becomes invalid if it was created through fraudulent means. This includes:
- Knowingly making false statements
- Intentionally deceiving another party
If you want your Will to make it through probate court, it should be as clear as possible, this way your assets will be distributed in accordance with your wishes. A self-proving affidavit should be also be added at the end of the Will. It needs to be signed by you, both witnesses, and the Notary Public. By doing this, the witnesses won’t have to appear in Probate Court when the probate hearing is held.
In addition to a self-proving affidavit, you need to name an Executor and a Successor Executor in the Will to be appointed by the Court. These people cannot be convicted felons or of unsound mind.
Get Help From a Probate Attorney Today
There are many issues that can potentially invalidate a Will, which is why you should consult with an experienced attorney to discuss what you need to include in your estate plan. At J. Roland Jeter, P.C., we are committed to helping clients throughout Texas with all of their estate planning needs. From creating a Will to forming a living trust, we can make sure that your assets are fully protected after you pass away. Let us put our skills and resources to work for you.
Call (972) 330-4050, or contact our Irving probate attorney to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with our friendly legal team.