Recently, I have been fielding many questions regarding what the Washington State requirements are for a valid Will. This quick blog post will answer those questions and clear up misconceptions regarding whether or not a Will is valid.
Who can make a Will?
Anyone over the age of 18
Who is of sound mind. This means that an individual must be able to execute legal documents. As an attorney, it is my job to evaluate individual to determine if they have capacity to execute a Will.
What are the requirements of the document itself?
Must be in writing;
Signed by the testator (person executing the Will); and
A the testator’s direction and in the testator’s presence signed by two disinterested competent witnesses.
The third component is where the majority of the confusion related to having a validity executed Will exists. It is best practice of the witnesses to not be family members, care givers or anyone named in the Will.
The requirement is NOT that the document is notarized. Signing and notarizing a Will does not make it a valid Will, as this is not the requirement. I often see wills prepared by individuals which have been notarized but not witnessed and unfortunately, these Wills are not valid and the individual’s wishes in that case might not be followed.
If you would like to execute a Will or other estate planning documents, feel free to reach out at email@example.com or 425.885.4066. If you need some suggestions on executing a valid Will during a time of social distancing, I am happy to provide suggestions.
If you would like to execute a Will or other estate planning documents, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425.885.4066. If you need some suggestions on executing a valid Will during a time of social distancing, we can also help with that.