Numerous estate planning tools can be utilized, including a final will. A will outlines how assets should be divided upon a person’s death. It can also provide instructions in terms of who should become guardians of minor children and much more.
With that being said, a will can only be implemented if it is legally valid. When might a will be invalid?
A lack of testamentary capacity
Testamentary capacity refers to an individual’s ability to make rational decisions regarding their will. This includes both during the initial drafting of the will and while making changes to existing documents.
Firstly, the individual must be at least 18 years old. Also, the individual must be of sound mind and without any ailments that could impact memory and other cognitive functions. A will shall be deemed invalid if the testator is younger than 18. It’s also possible that a will shall be deemed invalid if there is compelling evidence of a lack of testamentary capacity.
The presence of undue influence
A will must also reflect the true wishes of the testator. While other people will benefit from the terms of the will, that doesn’t mean they get to control these terms. Undue influence occurs when the testator has been pressured into drafting terms or making changes that do not truly reflect their wishes. For instance, if a family member forces the testator to exclude another loved one so that they can receive a higher portion of the estate.
One of the best ways to ensure that a will remains valid is to have legal guidance behind you throughout the drafting process. The same applies if you decide to make changes.