Like many people in Arkansas, you have hopes that after you die, a court will swiftly process your estate and allow your children to receive an inheritance from you. You might feel your will is enough to ensure a speedy route through probate. However, a family member might decide there is a legitimate reason to challenge your will.
An important part of preventing a will contest that can slow down the probate process is to adhere to state laws that dictate how you should compose a will. FindLaw explains the necessary requirements for the state to consider a will valid.
Age and sound mind
Like just about every state, a person needs to be no younger than 18 years old to compose a will. State law also requires a person to be of sound mind. This means a court might invalidate a will if the person who composed it suffered from a mental debilitation like dementia. Courts may also invalidate a will if the testator drafted it under undue influence.
Witnesses can also help validate your will. State law requires that you have two witnesses to be at your signing and they that sign the will as well. You may have more than two witnesses if you wish. The law also states that you must declare to the witnesses present that the will is your will.
Oral and handwritten wills
You can run into problems if you create a will through means that the state does not allow. Some states accept an oral will, in which a person verbally dictates a will. Since Arkansas does not accept the validity of oral wills, you cannot rely on speaking your estate wishes for a court to accept them.
However, Arkansas does accept holographic wills. These are wills you write in your own handwriting. To make a valid handwritten will, the entire document must be in your handwriting and you must sign it. You must also handwrite the will in the presence of what the law refers to as three credible and disinterested witnesses.