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Important Characteristics of a Valid Will

 Posted on November 13, 2023 in Estate Planning

California Estate Planning LawyerA will is a crucial legal document, often the cornerstone of many estate plans. The purpose of a will is to ensure that your assets are allocated according to your wishes once you pass away. To ensure the validity of a will, it must possess three essential characteristics: intent, proper execution, and clear language. The best way to make sure that a will is legally valid is to hire an estate planning lawyer in California to guide you through the will-making process. With a legal professional guiding your decisions, you can feel confident knowing that your will is legally valid and protects your best interests.

What You Need to Know About Intent

The testator’s intent is a valid will’s first and foremost characteristic. The testator must intend to distribute their assets upon their death. This means that the testator must have the mental capacity to understand the nature and significance of the document they are creating. They must also clearly understand the property they are distributing and the beneficiaries they are naming. 

Proper Execution is Everything 

This refers to the formalities required by law to ensure the validity of a will. These formalities may vary depending on the jurisdiction, but generally, they include the following requirements: 

  • Age and soundness of mind – The testator must be of legal age and possess the mental facilities to understand the consequences of creating a will.

  • Witnesses – Most jurisdictions require the presence of witnesses during the signing of a will. Witnesses act as impartial observers who can testify to the testator’s intent and the proper execution of the document. 

  • Signature – The testator must sign the will in the presence of witnesses, and the witnesses must also sign the will to acknowledge validity. 

The Importance of Clear Language

Of course, a valid will must employ clear and unambiguous language to avoid any confusion or misinterpretation. The testator should express their wishes straightforwardly and precisely, leaving no room for doubt. Legal terminology and technical jargon should be minimized to ensure all relevant parties can easily understand the will.

Furthermore, the will should explicitly identify the distributed assets and the beneficiaries who will receive them. Vague or general terms may lead to disputes and challenges to the will’s validity, potentially causing unnecessary delays and expenses. 

Contact a Los Angeles, CA Estate Planning Lawyer

To create a will that you can feel confident is legally binding, contact the experienced L.A. County estate planning attorney with Law Office of David Schechet. Call 800-282-4731 for a free consultation.

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