A will can be an important component of an Arizona resident’s estate plan. While that plan may include a number of legal devices, the will dictates important information that can help an individual think through how they want their assets distributed and who they wish to be in charge of managing their estate. While this post will provide information on what is required to draft a legal will in Arizona, readers are asked to speak with estate planning attorneys about how to prepare their own testamentary devices.
One condition of a valid Arizona will is that its creator, called a testator, is an adult. Children may not create their own wills until they reach the age of 18. Additionally, only adults who are of sound mind may draft wills that may later be recognized by the courts.
Proving the soundness of one’s mind can be a difficult process and can come up during probate if a will is challenged. If a testator suffered from a mental illness or defect during their lifetime then they may not have fully understood what terms they included in their will. Individuals who lack soundness of mind may be manipulated by unscrupulous parties who wish to enrich themselves as the beneficiaries of those wills.
If an adult of sound mind drafts and signs their will, it must then also be signed by two separate witnesses. Those witnesses must have seen the testator sign their will and must also sign it to attest to the completion of the process. Arizona does not recognize oral or nuncupative wills, but in some cases handwritten or holographic wills may stand up in court.
Preparing and executing a will can be a complex process. Individuals can work with knowledgeable estate planning attorneys to ensure that they have met the requirements of the process. They can also support their clients with other aspects of estate planning to ensure that they have complete plans for their futures.