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Holcomb & Hyde LLC March 3, 2021

Just because you wrote a will doesn’t mean that it’s valid in the state of Ohio. Your will has to meet certain qualifications before a judge will approve it after your death. If anyone has a reason to suspect that your will is invalid, they might launch a will contest during probate.

What Is a Valid Will?

To write a valid will, you must be at least 18 years of age. The judge might throw your will out during probate if you wrote it before you turned 18. You’ll also need at least two witnesses when you sign your will. These witnesses must be objective third parties who aren’t included in the will.

A judge might declare your will invalid if they believe that someone forced, threatened or coerced you to write your will in a certain way. They might also throw out your will if they have evidence that suggests that you weren’t “mentally sound” at the time. To write a valid will, you’ll have to demonstrate that you know what you’re doing and acted completely of your own accord.

Every state has different laws, so it could be wise to talk to an estate planning attorney before you officially sign off on your will. There’s nothing your family can do if a judge declares your will invalid after your death.

How Can You Write a Legally Binding Will?

An attorney could give you the advice that you need to write a comprehensive, legally binding will. Your attorney could check state laws to see how many witnesses you need to have and look for other formalities. Any legal loopholes or unclear passages could make your will vulnerable to will contests during probate. An estate planning attorney might also help you choose an executor for your will and a guardian for your underage children.