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Washington Will Contests > Based on Lack of Formalities

 

Checklist for Invalidating a Purported Will Based on Lack of Formalities

(ie, a "True" Will Contest & subject to the four-month statute)

  1. What Is a Will in Washington?

  2. Types of Wills in Washington

  3. Who Can Make a Will in Washington?

  4. Common Law Requirements

  5. The Will & Its Execution

  6. The Will & Its Attestation

 

We have seen The requirements in Washington for a Testator to make a valid Will.  Given those requirements, we may now make a checklist for invalidating a purported Will (or some of its provisions) based on lack of formalities:

 

 

A.  What Is a Will in Washington?   

 

1.  The document is not an "instrument."

2.  The document is not executed.

3.  The document does not conform to the requirements of RCW 11.12.020.

 

 

B.  Types of Wills in Washington   

 

4.  The document is not an attested Will (same requirement as #3 above).

5.  The document is not a nuncupative Will.

6.  If the document is a foreign Will, it is not valid according to the law where it was executed.

7.  If the document is a foreign Will, it is not valid according to the law of the Testator's domicile.

 

 

C.  Who Can Make a Will in Washington?   

 

8.  The document was not made by a person.

9.  The document was not made by someone of sound mind.

10.  The document was not made by someone who had attained age 18.

 

 

D.  Common Law Requirements   

 

11.  The document was not made with the intent of making a Will.

12.  The document fails to comply with the Substantive Law of Wills.

 

 

E.  The Will & Its Execution   

 

13.  The document is not in writing.

14.  The document is not signed by its maker, marked by its maker, or signed by another at the maker's request and in his/her presence, and if the latter, it fails to conform to the technical requirements of RCW 11.12.030.

 

 

F.  The Will & Its Attestation   

 

15.  The document is not witnessed by two of more persons.

16.  One of more of the necessary witnesses were not competent adults.

17.  One of more of the necessary witnesses lacked personal knowledge that the maker signed the document.

18.  One or more of the necessary witnesses did not sign the document.

19.  One or more of the necessary witnesses signed the document other than at its end.

20.  One or more of the necessary witnesses signed the document other than at its maker's request.

21.  One or more of the necessary witnesses signed the document other than in its maker's presence.

22.  One of more of the necessary witnesses is a Beneficiary under the document.

 

Note:  Any of the foregoing problems would affect the validity of a Will upon its execution.  Consequently, any Will Contest based upon any of the foregoing defects would be a "true" Will Contest under RCW 11.24.010 and therefore subject to the four-month Will Contest statute of limitations period.


 

We have also seen The requirements in Washington to have a Will valid at its making remain valid at the Testator's death.  So we may make a similar checklist for invalidating a purported Will (or some of its provisions) based on revocation.

 

 

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