If you are the executor of an estate, you will become very familiar with the decedent’s Last Will and Testament. This document will state that person’s final wishes, property to be dispersed, and beneficiaries who will inherit.
As you peruse the Will prior to probate, you should be aware if there are any questions of validity. A valid Will must be written, signed and dated by the testator, and signed by two witnesses. If a Will was created in another state, it must meet the laws of Arkansas in order to be determined valid in this state.
A Last Will and Testament is not a verbal agreement. It must be in writing. It can be typed or handwritten. If the testator has typed the document, but made written changes, those changes may be questioned if they occurred after the document was witnessed.
Properly Signed and Dated
The Will must also be properly signed and date by the Will maker. If he or she cannot sign due to physical inability, then a mark may be acceptable or someone else may sign on his or her behalf. This person cannot be a witness to the document.
In Front of Witnesses
A Last Will and Testament must be signed in front of at least two witnesses, who will also sign. They must be over the age of eighteen and they must be competent. If a witness is a party with an interest in the Will, he or she may have to forfeit part of his or her inheritance above the amount that would have been received if the estate was intestate, or without a Will. For this reason, it is best that witnesses by disinterested parties.
It is best to review the Will to see if there are any issues that may be questioned during probate. This court process will be used to determine if the document is valid before you can begin to follow the dictates within. If you are unsure of the validity of any part of the Will or if you think a challenge is possible, speak with your attorney.
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