Drafting a will before you die is one of the most important things to do. A will ensures your last wishes regarding the distribution of your properties are fulfilled and who manages the properties after you pass away or become incapacitated. However, certain criteria exist for a will to be valid and eligible for probate in court.
When signing a will, the signatory must fulfill some legally mandatory requirements. During the probate process, if the signatory has violated even one of the requirements, the entire process may come to a halt. Speak to an attorney to ensure your wills and trusts are legally valid to avoid stressing out your family members.
The legal requirements of signing a will
The signatory must sign the document with free will and not be forced.
One of the most important requirements of signing a will is that the signatory must be willing to sign the document and should not be forced or coerced by another party. Drafting a will, deciding its terms, and making it official is something the owner must do of their free will, not under the influence or coercion of someone else.
There are several cases where older people or people who are mentally unwell are forced to change the document and sign it without their own will. An individual trying to manipulate the signatory may even use physical force. This will make the will invalid.
The signatory must be of sound mind and capable of comprehending what they are signing.
Another term often used to refer to a sound mind is capacity. Basically, an individual must have the mental capacity that is required for creating and signing a will. Someone who can no longer live on their own and make their life decisions due to a decline in mental intelligence cannot be considered as someone capable of writing their own will.
This is because it is easy to manipulate and influence a person without a sound mind. Therefore, it is easier to take advantage of them.
The signatory must be of legal age.
The legal age to sign a document in Hawaii is 18 years and above. Therefore, a person under 18 cannot legally draft and sign a will. If they do, then the will is considered ineffective in court. Minor individuals are easier to manipulate and force. An adult is presumed to have the ability to sign a will, understand its terms and appoint the right Executor.