A will is an estate planning document that outlines a person’s wishes concerning their affairs, inheritances, property, and guardianship of their children (in the event of their passing). In Utah, any person 18 years of age or older (who is of sound mind) can draft a will.
What Is Considered a Valid Will in Utah?
Under Utah Code § 75-2-502, the basic requirements of a will are that it is written when you are of sound mind and that it is:
- In writing
- Signed by the testator or in their name by another person in the testator’s conscious presence with their consent
- Witness and signed by two other individuals
However, it is important to note that a document that is intended to be a will that is not completed in compliance with § 75-2-502 can be legally executed if the evidence presented establishes that the deceased did intend the document or writing to be:
- Their will
- A partial or complete revocation of the will
- An addition or alteration of their existing will
- A partial or complete revival of their will, formerly revoked will, or formerly revoked portion of their will
Are Holographic Wills Valid in Utah?
A holographic will (also referred to as an olographic testament) is a will that is handwritten and signed by the testator (the person outlining their wishes). While some states do not recognize handwritten wills as legally valid, they are legally acceptable in Utah if it is proven that the document is in the testator’s handwriting. Holographic wills may be written if the testator needed to share their wishes quickly; however, we advise having a will drafted by an attorney whenever possible.
Who Can Witness a Will?
Anyone who is considered to be competent can witness a will. Whether the person is named in the will does not have a bearing on their ability to sign as a witness either (Utah Code § 75-2-505).
Do You Have to Have a Will?
No, you are not legally required to draft a will. However, it is in your best interest (and that of your family and heirs) that you do. Without a will, your estate will be divided based on the intestate succession laws, and your wishes will not be known or regarded. On the other hand, if you have drafted a valid will, you can outline:
- How you want assets to be distributed
- Who you want to be excluded from being awarded anything based on intestate succession
- Who will take care of your children or pets
- Who will oversee the probate process and the estate affairs
Contact Our Attorneys
If you are drafting your will, the attorneys at Nelson, Taylor & Associates are here to help you draft a valid, legally binding document, and we can advise you concerning what you should and should not include in your will. We want to help ensure that your wishes are heard and honored. Our team is also equipped to help you draft other estate planning documents, including:
- Advanced directives
- Powers of attorney
- Modifications to existing documents/estate plans
For help with estate planning, estate administration, or the probate process, schedule a case consultation with our experienced team today. Call (801) 901-7046 or reach out online.