Illinois Last Will & Testament Requirements

By Holly Cameron

Making a will is essential if you want to ensure that your property is distributed according to your wishes after you die. In Illinois, the Probate Act of 1975 -- contained in Chapter 755 of the Illinois Statute -- sets out the state’s legal requirements for a last will and testament. Section 4-1 provides that any individual may make a will, provided he is 18 years or over and of sound mind and memory.

Making a will is essential if you want to ensure that your property is distributed according to your wishes after you die. In Illinois, the Probate Act of 1975 -- contained in Chapter 755 of the Illinois Statute -- sets out the state’s legal requirements for a last will and testament. Section 4-1 provides that any individual may make a will, provided he is 18 years or over and of sound mind and memory.

Writing a Will

According to Section 4-3, all wills must be in writing and signed by the writer, also known as the testator. A will is also valid if signed by another person on the testator’s behalf, provided that the testator is present at the time. At least two credible witnesses must be present at the time of signing. Neither the witnesses nor their spouses can be beneficiaries of the will.

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Changing or Altering a Will

Section 4-9 states that any addition to or alteration of a will is only effective if made by the testator and signed in the presence of two witnesses. Alterations written or typed onto a will can lead to uncertainty, and to avoid this, testators usually write a codicil. A codicil is a legal document that supplements a will and can be used to make small changes. To be valid, a codicil must be signed and witnessed with the same legal formalities as the original will. To avoid any ambiguity, the testator should arrange for the codicil to be placed with the original will for safekeeping after signing.

Revoking a Will

Section 4-7 of the Probate Act 1975 provides for revocation of a will in the event that the testator wishes to change his mind regarding his legacies or bequests. A testator may revoke his will by physically burning, canceling, tearing or obliterating it, or by directing someone else to do so in his presence. Alternatively, a testator can simply write a subsequent will, declaring that all prior wills are deemed to be revoked; however, it is still advisable to destroy any prior will.

Effect of Marriage and Divorce

Marriage has no effect on the validity of a will signed in accordance with the Probate Act of 1975. If, however, the testator's marriage is dissolved after she has executed a will, this will revoke any legacy or interest granted to her former spouse. According to Section 4-7, the effect on the will is as if the former spouse had died before the testator.

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Mississippi Law Regarding a Last Will & Testament

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Definition of Last Will and Testament in Michigan

Broadly speaking, a will is a document that explains how to distribute any property you leave behind when you die. If you die without a will or another method of distributing your property, such as a trust, your property is distributed according to state law, according to the American Bar Association. If there is no one under state law who can legally take your property, the state becomes the owner. Michigan's Estates and Protected Individuals Act, or EPIC, provides the definition of a "will" used in Michigan law.

Last Will & Testament in Kentucky

By writing a last will and testament, an individual sets out his wishes for disposing of his property and estate after his death. He may also stipulate his instructions for the guardianship of any minor children. Chapter 394 of the Kentucky revised statutes contains the law regarding wills in the state. If a person dies without leaving a will, he is said to be intestate and the Kentucky laws apply to the distribution of the estate.

Can You Change a Will Using Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney document gives the person you choose the power to make financial, medical and legal decisions for you if you become incapacitated, according to the 'Lectric Law Library. However, your power of attorney cannot change your will for you in any U.S. state, since all 50 states require you to have the mental capacity to make, change or revoke your will, according to FindLaw.

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