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3 mistakes that could invalidate your will

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2023 | Estate Planning

You make a will to ensure that your assets will pass on to the people you care about. However, certain mistakes could make the probate court declare your will invalid. When this happens, the court will divide your property according to an earlier will or as if you passed away without one.

Make sure your will goes smoothly by avoiding these mistakes:

  1. Signing a will without a valid witness

State law requires that you sign your will, or if you cannot, have someone else sign it in your presence. Two valid witnesses must also be present and sign the document. A witness is only legitimate if they are at least 18 years old, of sound mind, and are not a beneficiary of your estate.

Typically, your witnesses should not be your partner or a close family member. Trusted neighbors, colleagues, or relatives who will not benefit from your will are a few good options.

In Nevada, the only way for a will to be legitimate without witnesses is if it is handwritten, also known as a holographic will. However, this is subject to different standards.

  1. Having multiple wills

It is wise to update your will regularly, particularly after major life milestones, to ensure that it reflects your current intentions. However, failing to get rid of outdated wills could lead to confusion and inheritance disputes down the road because it could raise questions about which version of your will is valid. Adding a clause that nullifies any earlier wills may guarantee that only the most recent will is valid.

  1. Failing to meet the state requirements

For a will to be valid in Nevada, it must meet the state’s requirements for a printed will, an electronic will, or a holographic will. A will can be deemed invalid if it is partially handwritten and printed and does not meet all the requirements of either option.

For instance, a holographic will does not need a witness, but must have a date and be signed by the person making the will. Any material provisions must also be in their handwriting. Meanwhile, a typed or electronic will would require witnesses and their signatures.

Wills are subject to state laws, which could impact how a will is written and enforced. While you are free to compose it yourself, it may be best to consult a professional to make sure you do not overlook any details.