A legal will is an enforceable and legally binding document that allows a person, called the testator, to document the distribution of his properties and assets at the time of his death. There are requirements and components for a will to hold up in court. These requirements may vary from state to state, but the purpose they ultimately serve is basically the same. You may also use a Will and Trust Form for your estate planning, examples of which you will find readily available here for free perusal and download.
Free Legal Last Will Form
Legal Living Will Form
Legal Guardian Will Form
Legal Will Form in PDF
Components of a Legal Will
Before we delve into what makes a will legally binding, let us first look into the parts of a will.
- Name of the testator: This is the person who is writing the will and whose properties and assets will be distributed among his chosen beneficiaries.
- Name of the executor: He is the one who will execute the will and file it with the probate court. He will also be in charge of the properties and assets of the testator until the time that they will be distributed. He will also be the one to pay off any credits or debts the testator has and sell any properties needed to pay off those debts. Finally, he is also responsible for notifying banking companies and government agencies of the death of the testator.
- Beneficiaries: These are the persons whom the testator’s estate will be distributed to.
- Assets and Properties: The testator has to determine and list all assets he can legally distribute to his beneficiaries. In doing this, the testator has to take into consideration the past legal contracts he entered into that can affect what he can legally bequeath, like pre-nuptial agreements, community property agreements, and living trusts.
- Guardians: If the testator has a child who is under 18 years of age, a guardian can also be appointed in instances wherein the spouse of the testator also dies or if the testator is a widower.
- Special Requests: You can also include special requests in your Legal Will Forms on how you want your remains to be handled, like if you want these to be buried or cremated.
Last Legal Will Form in Word Format
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Printable Legal Will Form
What Makes a Will Legally Binding?
- Competent Testator: For a will to be legally binding, the testator has to be legally competent, meaning that he is over 18 years of age and is of sound mind and not influenced by outside parties to draft the will. This means that the testator has to indicate that he is making the will out of his own volition.
- Testamentary Intent: The intent of the testator to distribute his estate at the time of his death also has to be explicitly indicated in the will.
- Proper Execution: This will depend on the will-signing requirements imposed in your state, but a will has to be signed in the presence of at least two witnesses for it to be legally binding. It isn’t absolutely necessary, but it would help to have the will notarized as well.
Drafting a Legal Will can help you plan for the distribution of your estate and would prevent disputes among heirs and family members as to who gets what part of your estate after you pass away. You may also our Free Will Forms for more samples. Do take note that these forms are free and readily downloadable for your use.
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