Maybe you have already made your will or intend to do so. If so, then you have taken an important step toward ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after your death. That should give you some peace of mind.
However, there are certain conditions that can get your will tossed out by the probate court. “If a will is ambiguous, poorly constructed, or written under suspicious circumstances,” major problems can occur later on.
Many issues can affect the validity of a will
Neglecting the circumstances below might prompt the probate court to invalidate your will. If that does happen, the court then takes on the responsibility of distributing your assets. Things probably won’t play out as you envisioned. It’s best to sidestep these pitfalls if you can.
- Someone put you under extreme pressure: Writing a will under extraordinary pressure from an individual with self-serving motives can ultimately invalidate it.
- Lack of mental awareness: A person has to possess the mental acuity to understand exactly what they are specifying in their will. This is called testamentary capacity. Your will could be challenged if somebody suspects that you did not have this capacity.
- Construction issues: You must be sure that your will complies with all state regulations. In California, you must be, at minimum, 18 years old to write a will that is valid.
- Several versions of your will exist: This can cause problems concerning which version is the actual one you want used.
- Having your will witnessed and signed: The people you pick as witnesses cannot be among your heirs. There might be an age requirement that applies to your witnesses as well. Your will has to bear your signature, plus the signatures of both witnesses. They must affix their signatures to the will in front of you. They must first watch you sign it yourself.
Don’t make mistakes
After putting considerable effort into your will, don’t do anything that compels the probate court to throw it out. Think about asking someone who knows about legal issues to help you.