Having a valid will can be an important part of ensuring that a Vancouver resident's estate is distributed according to their wishes upon their death. However, a will is more than just a list of assets. Individuals who wish to execute wills and to have them considered valid must follow the laws of the state to ensure they are done correctly.
First, only adults may create wills in Washington. A person must be at least 18 years old to have a valid will. Also, that individual must be of "sound mind." A person who does not have the capacity to understand the decisions that they are making regarding their property may not be able to create a valid will.
Second, a will must be signed. It must be signed by the person making the will or someone who is directed by the will make to sign for them. Witnesses are also required to sign the will to demonstrate that the will represents the creator's intentions and that there was no fraud present in the creation of the document.
Third, Washington does not recognize holographic wills, which are handwritten wills that individuals create before their deaths. An oral or spoken will may be recognized, however, if the amount of assets bequeathed are limited and no real estate transactions are professed.
Ensuring that all of the requirements of a valid will are met can be challenging for a person who simply wants to make sure their wishes are honored when they pass on. However, with the right help estate planning documents such as a will can be executed as a means to protect one's interests.