Many Arizonans think of wills as simple documents they can utilize to dictate how their assets will be distributed upon their death. While this is true in a broad context, these estate planning vehicles can be quite detailed, and they are automatically legally valid. Instead, estate planners need to be careful to ensure that their wills are abiding by applicable laws unless they want to risk their assets falling into the wrong hands.
So, what are the requirements in Arizona for a legally valid will? To start, the individual who is creating the will or having the will created for him or her must be at least 18 years old. Next, that individual must be of sound mind. This means that the state of one’s mental health must be taken into consideration before pursuing a will. If an individual is deemed incompetent to create a will, then additional steps may need to be taken to ensure that a holistic estate plan is in place and legally valid.
In addition to these requirements, a will’s signing must be witnessed by at least two individuals. While these individuals can be present at the time of the document’s signing, Arizona’s law also allows them to sign off on the will shortly after its signing by the testator so long as they actually saw the signing of the document or the testator affirmed that he or she signed it.
Although these seem like very basic steps, many individuals fail to abide by them because they choose to create these legal documents on their own. This is a mistake that can have enormous consequences. This is why it is usually best to sit down with an estate planning attorney who can assist in developing and creating the legal documents necessary to bring one’s vision for his or her estate into reality.