A will is an important estate planning document because it provides instruction to individuals of how a decedent wanted their assets distributed and minor children cared for. Not everyone who wants to execute a will can, and this informational post will explore just who may prepare and sign these important testamentary devices. As with all of the posts of this blog, no reader should glean legal advice from this article. Consultation with knowledgeable Michigan-based estate planning attorneys is advised for those who want draft and sign their own wills.
The age requirement for wills
One of the first requirements that a person must meet before they can execute a will is the age requirement. Individuals must be at least 18 years of age before they can prepare and sign their wills. Generally, this rule exists because children do not have the same legal rights and property interests as adults nor the understanding of what a will accomplishes for its signor.
Another requirement that a person must meet in order to make their own will is that of testamentary capacity. Will creators must be of sound mind when they execute their wills, which means that they understand what rights and actions will be recognized and executed when they die. If a person lacks testamentary capacity, their will may be considered invalid after their death.
The writing requirement
Michigan wills must be written on paper. They can be typed or they may be hand-written. While formally prepared wills require the signature of witnesses, individuals who write handwritten or holographic wills must sign and date their documents to be valid. Spoken bequests that are not memorialized on paper do not count as wills in Michigan.
There are many other matters that individuals must understand before they can prepare and execute valid wills in Michigan. Estate planning attorneys are excellent resources for those individuals who are prepared to protect their assets and descendants through comprehensive estate planning.