Technical Mistakes That Could Invalidate a Will

Technical MistakesYou want to make certain that your Will is effective when you die. That is, you want to be sure that your estate assets will pass to the people you choose. Your Will is an extremely important document and you want to watch for issues that could invalidate it in court.

The law requires that important formalities be followed when executing and probating a will.

  1. The original Will must be filed in court.

  2. The testator -- the person who signed the Will -- must have signed it in the presence of two witnesses.

  3. The testator also must have manifested to the witnesses, in some way, that he or she was signing his Last Will and Testament, though he didn't have to share the contents with them.

  4. And finally, the witnesses must be disinterested -- if the Will says the witnesses share in the estate, their testimony won't count.

Here are a few other things to watch out for:

  • The language in your will must be clear! If your intentions are not stated with absolute clarity, the Will could be misinterpreted, easily contested and become the cause for serious family strife

  • If you’re a Connecticut resident, don’t create a holographic will, which is a will that you prepare in your own handwriting without the presence of witnesses. Although it is permissible in some jurisdictions, holographic wills are invalid in Connecticut.

  • Do not use a do-it-yourself, canned will kit to draft your will. First, it may not comport to the will signing requirements in Connecticut. Also, without proper legal training, you’re taking the risk that your will contains language that could lead to an unintended result.