Writing a will is the best way to protect your legacy and ensure your loved ones are cared for when you pass on. But as much as courts—and the law—acknowledge wills as the final wishes of a deceased person, will invalidation is fairly common. 

Below are mistakes that can invalidate a will.

Lack of Testamentary Capacity

By law, only people who are over the age of 18 and have testamentary capacity can draft wills. A person may be considered to lack testamentary capacity if they have a mental illness or degenerative disease like dementia. A known history of drug abuse and lack of knowledge of the full extent of property and assets may also be used to prove a lack of testamentary capacity.

Absence of Required Signatures

For a will to be considered valid, it must include three signatories. The first signature is the testator’s, and the other two signatures should be made by two independent and impartial witnesses. Like the testator, the witnesses must have testamentary capacity and should be above the age of 18. Further, they should not be among the will’s beneficiaries or have any blood or marital relationships with any of the beneficiaries.

Not Anticipating Life-Changing Events

Drafting a will is not a one-off event. Ideally, you should update your will regularly whenever your life circumstances change. One of the significant life changes you need to anticipate is marriage. As a matter of fact, getting married can revoke your existing will in most U.S. states. 

Divorce is another event you need to look out for, as the law treats your divorced spouse as if they are deceased. As such, your former spouse may not be listed as a beneficiary or an executor. Consequently, any assets you bequeath them may be distributed to other beneficiaries according to your state’s laws.

Improper Revocation of Previous Wills

When you draft a new will, ensure you revoke the existing will. This prevents anyone from coming up with past wills to claim your assets after your demise. Most importantly, ensure you follow all the rules while making the new will to reduce the chances of invalidation.

Avoid the Pitfalls

At The Williams Litigation Group, we have a team of estate lawyers ready to assist you in drafting a will and avoid unnecessary litigation. Call us today to book a free consultation.