Legal Requirements for Creation of a Will

Any person over the age of 18 can draft his own will without the aid of an Attorney. A will that is properly drafted, executed, and witnessed cannot lead to it being contested. In order for it to be valid, however, every will must contain the following:

  • The testator must clearly identify himself as the maker of the will.
  • The testator must declare that he revokes all previously-made wills and codicils.
  • The Testator must demonstrate that he has the capacity to dispose of his property, and does so freely and willingly.
  • The testator must sign and date the will, usually in the presence of at least two disinterested witnesses (persons who are not beneficiaries).


Some states recognize a holographic will, made out entirely in the testator’s own hand. A minority of states even recognize the validity of nuncupative (oral) wills.


A Will may not include a requirement that an heir commit an illegal, immoral, or other act against public policy as a condition of receipt. It also cannot be used to disinherit a spouse. Under state laws, a surviving spouse is entitled to at least a portion of the testator’s estate.


It is not only a good idea, but essential that the testator give his executor the power to pay Debts, Taxes, and administration expenses (probate, etc.). Warren Burger’s will did not contain this, which wound up costing his estate thousands.


What is a Will | Creating a Will | Revocation of a Will Estate Planning