Berman & Asbel, LLP

6 Reasons Why a Will Might Be Unenforceable

A last will and testament is one of the most important documents a person will create. It dictates everything from the care a person receives in the event of incapacitation to what will happen with all his or her possessions.

Considering the power that a will holds, it is crucial that you create one that is clear and - most importantly - enforceable. If you fail to do this, there is no guarantee that your wishes will be carried out as you expect. Below are six of the most common elements that can make a will unenforceable in Pennsylvania, according to state laws.

  1. The testator (creator of the will) is not of sound mind. If a person is not mentally competent, then any legal document that he or she creates or signs will generally be invalid.
  2. There is no written record of the will. A will must be in writing to be valid; oral wills are not valid in this state.
  3. The testator did not sign (or make his or her mark on) the will.
  4. There are no witnesses. While not required in this state, witnesses can be crucial in clearing up any confusion regarding the validity of the document and the mental capacity of the testator.
  5. The creator of the will was younger than 18 years old at the time.
  6. There is evidence that coercion or duress was a factor in the signing.

In the event that these elements were in place at the time a will was created, the courts will generally deem the document invalid.

To avoid the complications resulting from an invalid will, it is crucial that you ensure your will is properly prepared and recorded. You can do this by consulting an experienced estate planning attorney. If you have questions regarding the validity of someone else's will, then legal guidance can also be essential.

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