Every state sets out laws with requirements for drafting a valid last will and testament. It is important to make sure your will meets all the necessary requirements to prevent will contests during the probate process. In Illinois, some basic requirements include the following:
- You must be at least 18 years of age
- You must sign the will in front of two or more witnesses, who will also need to sign the will at that time
- You must have sound mind and the mental capacity to understand the implications of drafting a will, the nature of your property, and the identities of likely beneficiaries
One exception to the above rules is that you can designate someone to sign the will for you if you are incapable of signing yourself. Once you have a will, you cannot simply write in changes at a later date and expect them to hold. Instead, you must go through the formal process for execution, including witnesses, to amend the will for the changes to be valid.
If you do not meet the basic requirements, there is a chance that a judge might find the will to be invalid. In addition, your will might be contested if someone believes one or more of the following was involved:
- Undue influence
- Coercion or duress
An experienced Illinois estate planning attorney can advise you on what steps you might take to prevent any allegations of fraud or other wrongful influence if you make a new will or amend your existing will.
Learn How an Estate Lawyer in Illinois Can Help
If you have questions about drafting a will or making amendments, do not hesitate to contact Illinois estate planning attorney Charles Newland. Call 847.797.9300 or contact us online to set up a consultation and discuss your estate planning needs.