It is very important for every person to have a last will and testament. It is considered as one of the most important, if not the most important, documents that a person must create while he or she is still alive. Under Arizona law, a person 18 years and above can make a will. Why is this important, you may ask. It’s like this: If a person dies without a will, he or she is considered to have died intestate; meaning, the distribution of his or her assets will be determined by the state. You won’t want that to happen, would you? It’s always better to distribute your assets according to your wishes. Now that you know its importance, it’s time for you to learn some other things regarding Arizona wills.
In Arizona, the laws regarding wills, protective proceedings, estates and intestate succession are set forth in their Revised Statutes, particularly under Title 14. You can read these statutes if you wish so. But if you don’t have the time or if you want the important legal matters simplified, below are the requirements for creating Arizona wills.
The Basic Requirements
As provided in Arizona Revised Statutes, the following are the basic requirements for a last will and testament. Before you can create a will, make sure that you have or qualify to the following:
- A person must be at least 18 years of age.
- Testamentary intent (which includes instructions on what will happen to the property left behind upon death)
- Testamentary capacity or in other words, having a “sound” mind (not incompetent under the law)
- Undue influence (you must make the will out of free will and not be induced to do so)
- Your signature or another person’s with your authority
Authorization to Make Arizona Wills Valid
States have different requirements to the validity of wills. In Arizona, for a will to be valid and legal, the following must be present:
- The will or document must be written (whether printed or typed)
- It must be signed by the “testator” (the person making the will). Sometimes, a testator is also referred to as the “testatrix.”
- It must be signed by two witnesses. The witnesses must also be present during the execution and signing of the will and other documents.
But remember that these are not always the requirements regarding the authorization of Arizona wills. These are just the general requirements. You will learn more about specific requirements when we discuss the types of wills later.
Witnesses to the Will
The general rule regarding witnesses in Arizona wills is that they must be ideally not beneficiaries thereof. However, under the laws of Arizona, if the witnesses are beneficiaries, it does not automatically make the will invalid. But just to make sure and to save yourself from possible hindrance, comply with what’s required by the law.
Types of Wills Recognized in Arizona
There are three types of wills that are essentially recognized under Arizona law; namely, non-self proved (witnessed wills), self-proven, and holographic (hand-written). These Arizona wills are each discussed briefly below:
- Non-self proved (witnessed wills). This type of will generally requires the presence and testimony of a witness in order to be valid and genuine. The will’s validity is established by extrinsic evidence such as the one mentioned above.
- Self-proven will. This is the more general type of will. It is duly notarized and must be signed by the testator and the two witnesses through an affidavit. The signing must be done in front of a qualified notary. This type of will is automatically accepted by the courts.
- Holographic will. This is not generally accepted. But in Arizona, this type of will is considered valid and legal. It is also called the hand-written will, because the document itself is hand-written by the testator. It does not need witnesses in order to be valid. What is important in this type of will is that the will and signature must all be in the testator’s own handwriting.
You now know the importance things you need to be familiar with regarding Arizona wills. As discussed earlier, a will is perhaps the most important legal document must create or have during his or her lifetime. If you still don’t have a will, create one now and don’t wait before it’s too late. Here in Dana Law Group, we can make things easy for you. Rest assured that we will listen to your needs and fit the will according to your wishes.