The will serves as the foundation of your estate plan. It is a necessary document that can allow you to dictate what happens to your life and your family when you are gone, regardless of the size of your estate. You decide who will inherit your estate and how much of it will go to them. If you have minor children, you can appoint a guardian for them in your will.
A will allows you to express your last wishes and choose an executor to perform them how you want. It lowers the potential for family disputes and provides your family security. Nevertheless, a will does not bypass probate, so you should ensure it meets all the basic legal requirements.
The basic requirements of a will in Arizona
A person who dies without a will dies intestate, and the distribution of the property will follow Arizona’s intestacy laws. A person who dies with a will dies testate and is the testator of that will. The testator should be at least 18 years old of age. They should be of sound mind and body. They should be able to independently make legal and financial decisions and understand the extent of their property. The testator should also be aware of their heirs, beneficiaries and creditors. A valid will should also meet the following specifications:
- It should be in writing
- The testator should have signed the will
- The testator must sign the will in the presence of two witnesses
- The two witnesses must also sign the will
It is advisable that the witnesses are not beneficiaries and have no pecuniary interest in the will to avoid disputes based on undue influence. However, the probate court will not invalidate a will simply because either or both witnesses are interested parties.
A will can be made self-proved
To make your will a self-proved will, you and your witnesses should sign an affidavit in the presence of an officer authorized to administer oaths under the laws of the state. A self-proved will should make probate less time-consuming as it will give the court an easier time to authenticate the will.
As the testator, you should ensure your will is valid to preserve your legacy and protect your family.