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Basic facts about wills in Arizona

Your will is the final message you’ll leave to family members, and it dictates how your estate and other affairs should be handled after you die. Since every state has different rules and regulations that apply to the creation and signing of wills, let’s take a closer look at what Arizona law requires for this vital estate planning document:

1. Anyone who drafts a will must be at least 18 years of age and of sound mind. In this context, “sound mind” generally means that the will drafter, or testator, was not suffering from a mental condition that prevented them or her from fully understanding the implications of the will.

2. A will must have at least two witnesses. These witnesses, who should be 18 years of age or older, must sign the document to confirm that it was indeed the testator who signed the will.

3. Arizona law does not recognize oral, i.e., noncupative, wills.

4. Arizona law recognizes handwritten (holographic) wills. A holographic will does not require a witness. However, it must be drafted in the testator’s handwriting.

Since your will dictates how your assets will be distributed to the heirs and beneficiaries who survive you, it’s vital that Arizona residents take great care to draft these documents in a lawfully appropriate fashion. Although it’s possible to create a handwritten will — or a do-it-yourself will via a legal template — the wisest estate planners retain the services of qualified estate planning attorneys to create lawful wills that have a greater chance of withstanding court challenges from any disgruntled relatives or hopeful beneficiaries.

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