A will is an important estate planning document that protects a person’s interests and preferences for how their wealth and property is distributed after their death. While many readers may assume that wills have to be written, they might now know exactly what requirements a will must meet in order to be valid under the laws of Washington. While this post will provide some general information about valid wills, its contents do not provide legal advice. The preparation and execution of a will may be undertaken with the help of a trusted estate planning attorney.

One requirement for drafting a legal will applies to the age of the will’s creator. Only individuals who are at least 18 years of age may create their own wills, which generally indicates that children are not capable of preparing these legal documents. Being an adult is not enough, though, because only adults who are of sound mind may create valid and legal documents.

Having soundness of mind refers to a person’s ability to understand what is happening and make reasonable decisions. If a person suffers from a mental condition or defect that prevents them from having this capacity they may be unable to legally draft a will.

Wills must be acknowledged by witnesses and in most circumstances must be written out. A person may execute an oral or nuncupative will if they are disposing of non-real property that amounts to a small monetary value. The specific requirements for nuncupative wills are particular and should be discussed with estate planning professionals.

A will is a useful device to have in one’s comprehensive estate plan. It offers a person a way to describe how they wish to give away their property and possessions and maintain control over the distribution of their wealth. New wills and redrafted wills may be completed with supportive legal counsel.