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Common Errors That Could Get A Will Invalidated

While you can change your will any time you want to, you only get one shot to get it right. Once you're gone, no one can ask you how an error in your will should be resolved, and this could cause your family huge legal headaches and possibly cause a relationship destroying fight.  Before starting your will, make sure you understand the common ways that all or part of a will could be invalidated so that the same thing doesn't happen to you.

Forgetting to Sign

A will must be signed to be legally valid. Otherwise, there is no way of telling who wrote a will. In some states, a handwritten will might be accepted without a signature if and only if two conditions can be met. First, the will has to be matched against known handwriting samples. Second, there has to be other evidence that the will was intended to be final and binding, and that it wasn't a discarded draft.

Typed wills eliminate the possibility of handwriting being compared. Also, keep in mind that the name on an electronic file only matches the user account that was used to created the document, and doesn't actually verify who was using the computer at the time. Typing a will out is fine, but at present, it still must be printed and signed.

Not Having Witnesses or a Notary

The law also strongly encourages a will to be witnessed by two individuals and to be notarized by a third. While a will might be accepted without this, the legal process for the surviving family members to validate the will is much longer.

Witnesses are used to prove that the person creating the will was of sound mind and wasn't under undue influence. They can also resolve disputes about which will was the latest version if multiple wills are found.

A notary swears in the will's creator to establish that they are of sound mind and intend to create a legally binding document. The witnesses are also placed under oath when they sign so that later lying about the will is a crime.

Violating the Law

A will can't assign any property that is illegal or violate restrictions in the law such as by placing unlawful conditions on the transfer of a piece of real estate. If a person doesn't realize that a portion of their will is illegal, their property may not go to the person they wanted it to go to.

To get help with creating a will, contact a local probate legal team, such as Wilson Deege Despotovich Riemenschneider & Rittgers for more information.