Your will directs the distribution of your estate upon your death. However, having one may not be enough for your wishes to be followed, as the document also needs to comply with the law to be valid. If your will is not valid, the court would distribute your assets according to the state laws of intestacy. This means that the court would transfer your estate to your spouse, children or closest family members, but not in the way you want to. However, you can prevent this by verifying if your will is valid.
The law’s requirements
In Illinois, the courts consider a will invalid if it does not meet the law’s specific requirements. When this happens, the courts proceed as if the deceased had never created a will. Your will is valid if:
- You signed it when you were over 18 years old
- You signed the will in the presence of at least two witnesses who also signed it
- You understood the purpose, terms and consequences of the will when you signed it
Additionally, every will in Illinois must be in writing. Handwritten wills can also be valid as long as they comply with the law’s requirements.
Protecting your estate
Your will must be valid if you want your executor to distribute your estate according to your wishes. Otherwise, the court would base the distribution on the law, and your estate could end up in the hands of someone you disapprove of. You have worked hard for your estate, and you deserve to decide what will happen to it when you are no longer here.