What do you need to make a will? At the heart of the matter are three key considerations that you absolutely must have in order to make a will. They are:
Capacity means you are of sound mind, aware of what’s going on, what assets you have and who you want to give them to. You’re giving a gift, just in the future. In order to give a gift, you need to know what you’re giving and to whom. And with a will, you are setting that down on paper at a certain point of time for a transfer to happen later.
- Free Choice
You can’t be threatened to put certain things into the will. It has to be entirely up to you as far as what you are giving and to whom. Sometimes we refer to this as not being under duress, or not being coerced into taking a particular course of action.
- Proper Execution
In the State of Illinois, to properly execute a will, you need to have two witnesses who are not related to you, as well as a notary. And they will affirm that you are of sound mind when you are executing the document, that what is in the document reflects your choices, and that you are aware of what you are doing and what decisions you’re making.
These are just the basic elements you need to have in order to make a will, not a checklist of everything that should go into such a document. The actual provisions of a will are going to cover many more things, such as naming an executor and beneficiaries, and hopefully including provisions to streamline the probate process and avoiding costs where possible to do so. To talk more about such points, consider an estate planning strategy session.