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What components are essential for a valid will?

Most Florida residents know that a valid will is an essential foundation of a good estate plan. That's because an expertly prepared will can go a long way to protect assets and ensure that the testator's final wishes are properly carried out. But what specific requirements must be included in a will in order for it to be considered legal?

The first requirement for every will is that the testator must be legally able to create it. This means that they must be at least 18 years old. A person can also compose a will if they are currently a member of the armed forces or if they are married.

Another important component of a will is that the person drafting the will must have testamentary capacity. Basically, this means they must be of sound mind. They must know what they are doing and understand the nature and effect of the will they are creating. They must also understand that they are distributing the assets from their estate to their loved ones and friends.

The testator must also realize that they are creating the will voluntarily. In other words, they must not be forced or coerced by someone else into creating this document. Any will that is created under duress will not be recognized as a valid will.

A proper legal will must also be signed by the testator and dated as well as signed by two other witnesses. However, any Florida resident who is considering creating their will may want to speak to an estate planning attorney in order to find out all of the legal requirements of a proper will.

Source: FindLaw, "What Is a 'Valid Will'?," Accessed Feb. 15, 2016

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