By Matthew P. Stucki
This is the fourth of four posts discussing the execution of a valid Last Will and Testament. The first three steps in executing a valid Last Will and Testament include testamentary intent, testamentary capacity, and voluntary creation of the Last Will and Testament free from fraud, duress, or undue influence. The fourth and final step in the execution of a valid Last Will and Testament requires that the Testator execute it under a specific ceremony per state law.
For example, in Idaho, a Testator’s Last Will and Testament must be signed by the Testator and by at least two witnesses who either witnessed the Testator signing or had the Testator acknowledge his or her signature to the witnesses. Both the Testator signatures and the witness’ signatures should be signed or acknowledged in front of a notary public. Once this ceremony is completed, the Testator has a valid Last Will and Testament.
However, it is interesting to note that some states have more or less stringent requirements in executing a valid Last Will and Testament. As a result, it is best practice for a Testator to execute a Last Will and Testament according to the most stringent requirements just in case the Testator decides to moves to another state. Such practice will allow for a Last Will and Testament to be valid in all states that the Testator may be domiciled at the time of death.
Some of these additional requirements include the following: a requirement that the witnesses not be beneficiaries or interested parties of the Last Will and Testament, the requirement that the witnesses see the Testator sign the Last Will and Testament (called the line of sight test); a requirement that the Testator sign at the very bottom of the Last Will and Testament, a requirement that the witnesses be of the age of majority and competent at the time of witnesses the execution.
By executing a Last Will and Testament in compliance with the laws of all the States, the Testator will essentially eliminate any ability for other individuals to contest the Last Will and Testament based on improper execution. If you have any questions regarding whether a Last Will and Testament has been properly executed contact our Idaho Estate Planning Team of lawyers.
Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a consultation with Matthew P. Stucki and the Racine Olson team of Estate Planning attorneys in Pocatello, Idaho Falls, or Boise. You can also email Matthew P. Stucki directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will answer your Idaho, Estate Planning questions and will help you determine how to meet your personal estate planning needs.
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