The court will ultimately decide whether the will is valid, but there are a few things you can look out for to determine if there are any factors that may invalidate the will.
This is what you need to look out for:
#1 - The will must be in writing.
Wills are typically composed on a computer and printed out, but older wills may have been typed on a typewriter. However, handwritten wills may also be valid if they are done correctly.
It gets complicated when there’s a mixture of handwriting and pre-printed text, or when a fill-in-the-blank form is used. It can also become complex if certain language is crossed out on a computer-printed will. You may not be able to determine who made the changes or when they were made, and it is unlikely that a court will enforce them.
#2 - The testator must sign it.
A will is invalid if it is unsigned by the person who created it. This person is called the testator. If the testator is physically incapable of signing the document, they may be allowed to have someone else sign it for them before a witness or they may make some other marking on the document that definitively demonstrates that they intended for the document to be a valid last will and testament.
It’s not a requirement, but it is also helpful for the testator to sign or initial each page of the will.
#3 - The will should be signed by two adult witnesses.
Witnesses are critical to the process of creating a will. They observe the testator sign the document and then the witnesses sign it themselves. Witness signatures demonstrate that the testator is mentally competent and is not being unduly influenced.
The witnesses must be legal adults and they must know that the document they’re signing is intended by the testator to be a will.
Although they are uncommon and not advisable, holographic wills are legitimate and enforceable if they are written entirely by the testator. The testator also needs to sign the will in order for it to be valid.
If you are concerned about the validity of your loved one’s will, call Obenshain Law Group today for help.
Here at Obenshain Law Group, we are highly skilled in will contests and have helped many others obtain the assets they deserved. Let us see if we can help you, too. Don’t delay—contact our office right away with your questions.
If you need to contest a loved one’s will, our lawyers at Obenshain Law Group may be able to help you seek the justice you deserve. Give us a call at (540) 318-7360 or fill out an online contact form.