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Requirements for Creating a Valid Will in Arizona

by | May 24, 2024 | How to create a will in Arizona, Last Will and Testament, What makes a valid will?

At Windrose Law Center, we understand that estate planning is an important step in securing your family’s future. A key piece of this plan is a valid will. A well-crafted will ensures your wishes for your property distribution are followed after you pass away. But navigating legal requirements can feel daunting. Here, we’ll provide a clear overview of what Arizona law requires for a valid will.

Who Can Create a Will?

Arizona law allows anyone who is at least 18 years old and of “sound mind” to create a will. This term “sound mind” is also referred to as “testamentary capacity.” Being of sound mind essentially means you understand the nature of the document, the extent of your property, and the individuals you want to inherit it.

What Makes a Will Valid?     There are four main requirements for a valid will in Arizona:
  • In Writing: Your will must be a physical document, typed or handwritten. Oral wills (spoken wishes) are not enforceable under Arizona law.
  • Signed by You (or Someone Else): You, the person creating the will (called the testator), must sign the document. If you’re unable to sign yourself, you can have someone else sign it in your presence and at your direction.
  • Witnessed by Two People: At least two witnesses must observe you signing the will or acknowledge your signature. These witnesses must be at least 18 years old, mentally competent, and cannot be beneficiaries named in the will (or related to a beneficiary in the will). They should also sign the will in your presence and the presence of each other.
Additional Considerations

While not mandatory, some additional steps can strengthen your will and make the probate process smoother:

  • Self-Proving Will: Having your will notarized by a notary public in front of the witnesses creates a self-proving will. This can save time and money during probate by eliminating the need for the witnesses to appear in court.
  • Clarity and Specificity: Using clear and specific language in your will minimizes the risk of misinterpretations and potential legal challenges.
  • Legal Counsel: Too often we see people who have tried to DIY their wills using an online service, only to have to hire us to fix the mistakes. Our experienced estate planning attorneys can guide you through the process, ensure your will meets all legal requirements, and tailor it to your unique circumstances. 
We Can Help

Creating a will is a significant step, and we understand you may have questions. The Windrose Law Center team is here to help. We can guide you through the process, answer your questions, and ensure your will is crafted to meet your wishes and protect your loved ones. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.