Qualifications for having a Will

Do you know if you are legally qualified to have a will? Generally, if you are over 18 years of age and sound minded person, you will be qualified. There are a few states that have different minimum age limitation, some allowing wills by children of as young as 14. A few other states require the testator to be over 18 years old. For the specific age requirement, you will have to check your own state’s age requirements, along with other specifics.

It is also important to understand that different states might have their own laws that may apply to a single will. The laws of the state that you are primarily residing will be used to decide the validity of the will as to any personal property and real estate located in that state. However, if any real estate outside of your home state is mentioned in the will, then the laws of the state in which that real estate is found will govern the disposition of that particular real estate. Thus, if you have an ownership over a property outside of the state where you live, make sure to check both your own state’s laws and those of the state in which your other property is located, whenever you check more information concerning specific state laws.

The requirement to be a sound minded person refers to the ability to understand the following:

  • You are signing a will on your own decision
  • You know who your beneficiaries are after signing a will
  • You understand the nature and extent of your assets

Being a “sound minded” refers only to the moment when you actually execute (or sign) the will. Contrary to most people’s assumption, a person who is suffering from a mental illness or uses drugs or alcohol, or even a person who is senile may legally sign a will. This is acceptable as long as the will is signed and understood during a period when the person is clear minded and has sufficient mental ability to understand the extent of his or her property, who is to receive that property, and that it is a will that is being signed.

Furthermore, the fact that a person has a physical incapacity would not make any difference in his or her right to sign a will. Regardless of whether a person is blind, deaf, cannot speak, crippled, is very weak physically, or is illiterate; as long as he or she understands what he or she is doing and is signing, the “sound mind” requirement will be met.

Related to the testator’s “sound mind” requirement at the time of signing the will is the requirement that the will be signed without any undue influence, fraud, or domination by others. In other words, the will must be freely signed and reflect the wishes of the person who is signing it for it to be legally valid. You do not ever have to sign a will that is not exactly what you understand and desire. Do not let anybody coerce or even force you to sign a will that does not accurately reflect your own personal wishes nor describes specifics in details of your decision. By any chance, if you are in a situation of this nature, it is highly recommended that you immediately seek the assistance of a competent lawyer for any valid legal actions.

If you want to prepare a will, you can use Free Will Forms but make sure that you have get the form signed. Any signed document is legally binding, so ask lawyer for any questions. For easy downloadable forms, go online and search for legal docs free and you should be able to find many general legal forms and documents such as Living Will, Power of Attorney and Rental Agreement Forms.

Here are more details on type of property you may dispose of with your will.