DC Wills: The Basics

A last will and testament is a legal document that expresses a person’s wishes for the disposition of their assets at their death. It names the person’s executor, which in DC is called a personal representative. It also names successors to the personal representative. It often expresses a person’s wishes for burial or cremation. The document is very important when it comes to granting someone their wishes after they have passed. Consult a DC wills lawyer to discuss wills in more detail.

Requirements for Creating Wills in DC

To be valid in the District of Columbia, a last will and testament must be signed by the testator while he or she has the required testamentary capacity. In addition, the will must also include an attestation clause and be witnessed by two independent witnesses over the age of eighteen. Many states including the District of Columbia have very different requirements for the proper execution of a will. It’s important to check with an attorney barred in the person’s jurisdiction who is familiar with the laws regarding the proper execution of wills.

Competency Requirements

For competency to be established in DC, the person must have testamentary capacity. There just needs to be a moment of testamentary capacity. Essentially, a person must be familiar with what the general amount and nature of their assets. They must be familiar with their family and friends, whomever they want to distribute their assets to, and the nature in which they want to distribute their assets. Attorneys use different tests to determine whether a grantor has testamentary capacity, which may include asking the grantor about his life or her life, asking them about the date, who the president is to just determine the grantor’s capacity.

Requirements for Executing Wills in DC

First, a person must have the proper testamentary capacity to execute a will. The person only needs a moment of capacity in the District of Columbia, but it’s important that the attorney is comfortable that the testator knows what his or her assets are, can identify his or her children or heirs, can identify how they want their assets to pass, and is able to sign the last will and testament. Along with the competency piece, the person is also required to have two independent witnesses to witness the signature of the executor and sign the document. The will also must contain an attestation clause, a clause that identifies the document as the grantor’s last will and testament; it was signed by the grantor; and it was witnessed and signed by two independent witnesses.

The witnesses need to be over the age of eighteen; they cannot be named in the document. For example, if an attorney was named as one of the personal representatives, he or she would not be able to be a witness to the document. The witnesses are signing that they watched the testator sign the document. Additionally, when trying to execute a will, there may be questions about whether the testator received any undue influence in the creation of their will, or if fraud was involved. Such questions could majorly impact the execution of a will, which is why it would help to ask an experienced DC wills lawyer for help in creating your last will and testament.

Role of Acklowdgement

The will must recite that it is intended to be the last will and testament. Typically, that’s done in the first sentence, but it’s also done in the attestation line.

The purpose of having testamentary capacity standard is to ensure that somebody is acting of their own freewill, and they have the ability to enter into the document that is binding on them after their death.