There’s a reason that there is so much misinformation out there about estate planning rules. Even those with good intentions could give you advice that won’t actually help you.
Estate planning laws are different when you cross state lines, which leads to some confusion among those hoping to create testamentary documents. People may not understand what standards the state imposes for the creation of a valid and enforceable will.
The effort you put into creating an estate plan will go to waste if your documents don’t hold up under the scrutiny of the Kentucky probate courts or your family members. What are the two most crucial elements of a valid will in Kentucky?
You need to write and sign your own name
The person creating estate documents is the testator. A testator must be at least 18 years of age in most cases to create a will, and they also need to be of sound mind, meaning they are legally competent at the time that they create and sign the document.
Even if you use digital documents or have a lawyer draft your will, you will still need to write out and sign your name for the will to be valid in all but the rarest of cases.
You need to have two adult witnesses
If all the state required was your signature on the document, it would be far too easy for those with bad intentions to forge a signature or draft fraudulent documents. You will also need to have two witnesses present when you sign your will, and they will need to sign the document as well.
Your witnesses need to be adults, and if they are people who won’t receive property from your estate, that will decrease the risk of others alleging fraud or undue influence later. If there are questions about the validity of the document or your mental state at the time of signing, those witnesses can play a crucial role in validating your last wishes.
There are other important rules for wills in Kentucky, such as avoiding the inclusion of illegal terms. Understanding the rules that govern Kentucky estate planning can help you create enforceable documents for your protection and the well-being of those you love.