What is a will?
A will is a legal document in which you describe how what happens to your property after your death.
Who can make a will?
Any person may make a will as long as that person is at least 18 years of age and is of sound mind.
Can I name a personal representative in my will?
Yes. The will should also name a personal representative. This person will be responsible for carrying out the instructions in your will after you die.
What makes a will valid in Washington state?
To be valid in Washington, a will must be in writing, signed by you, and then witnessed and signed by two or more competent witnesses in your presence.
Does Washington state law require wills to be notarized?
No. However, your will should include a self-proving affidavit.
Who is a competent witness?
Your two witnesses need to be over 18 years of age. They should not be individuals named in your will. RCW 11.12.160(2) states that "the fact that the will makes a gift to a subscribing witness creates a rebuttable presumption that the witness procured the gift by duress, menace, fraud, or undue influence."
Can I later revoke my will?
Yes, you can revoke your will.
Can I change my will once I have made it?
Yes, you can change your will using a codicil.
Ruth A. Harper
I'm a Pacific Northwest attorney, and my focus is on estate planning and elder law. My interest in these fields grew out of my experience with aging relatives and family members with special needs.
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