What Constitutes A Legal Will Document

Published: 19th October 2009
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There is one thing to keep in mind about a will - when it comes into force, the author of the will is not going to be available to answer any questions or clarify any doubts. That is why it is essential that a legal will document must be completely clear and understandable by all those involved. And it often happens that some beneficiaries are less pleased than others at the contents of the will - occasionally to the extent of contesting it in court. Even if it does not come to this, a good legal will document should explain the reasons why the estate has been disposed of in the way it has, so that there can be no dispute about the testator's intensions and desires. Another essential component of a good legal will document is that its authenticity and validity should not be open to question. A proper legal will document must meet various specific requirements.

The Elements Of A Sound Legal Will Document

When making a legal will, the following conditions must be met:

The testator must be over 18 years of age.

He or she must be of sound mind. This means that the testator must understand what a legal will document is and what purpose it serves. The testator must also have a complete knowledge and appreciation of the value of the property that is being bequeathed in the will. The testator must be able to clearly identify the persons who are the beneficiaries and state the relationship of the beneficiary with the testator.

The legal will document must clearly state that it is the testator's last will and testament and that this document supersedes any previous wills or bequests that may have been committed to, but not executed by the testator.

The will must clearly state who inherits what and if property is to be divided, the means of evaluating the property to ensure that the division is as per the terms of the will must be specified.

A clause regarding the disposal of any properties that may have been left out of the will is required to protect the legal will document from any disputes on this count.

A legal will document will appoint an executor who will be responsible for the carrying out of the bequests and the payment of any legal fees, taxes and debts that may exist.

If the testator is leaving minor children behind without a parent, the will must specify who will be the children's guardian.

If any trusts or other such provisions are to be made for the protection of the minor children, these should be clearly specified, along with who will manage these trusts.

And finally, a proper legal will document must be signed, dated and witnessed as per the prevailing state laws. Any deviation from this could make the legal will document invalid.

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