In order for a Will to be considered valid, it must be drafted in accordance with the state’s probate code. In most cases, these kinds of formalities help the court to verify its authenticity.
How to verify the validity of a Last Will and Testament
One of the main duties of probate court is to verify the validity of a will. If the document contains any abnormalities or appears to be inauthentic, the probate court can declare it invalid. Some of the main problems usually associated with an invalid will include the testator’s mental capacity, fraud or signs of duress.
Even though there might be some minor differences in state laws regarding Last Wills and Testaments, there is usually a blanket rule that the form must contain the signature of the testator and at least two witnesses. They serve as proof that the testator is of sound mind and clearly understands the impact of drafting the will.
Self-proving affidavits are a common feature in most states. They are usually signed and attached to the will during its execution phase. They are also notarized and include oaths taken by each witness stating that they were present when the will was being executed. In case the will is not self-proved, one witness may be called upon to sign an oath in the presence of probate court official, verifying its authenticity.
If the testator’s beneficiaries believe there are certain problems with the will, they can challenge its authenticity in probate court by giving their testimony. In some situations, experts may be called to offer testimony before the probate court.
Each state has its own laws on what constitutes a valid will. However, an authentic will must adhere to certain general requirements. If it doesn’t, it cannot hold up in probate court and it will declared invalid.