As a resident of Illinois who has decided to make a will, there are many things you need to know about the process first. If you make a mistake during the will’s creation, you could risk the entire will being considered invalid, meaning the courts will not honor it.

As FindLaw shows, there are several primary critical points that you need to hit in order for your will to be considered valid in general. First, you must be at least 18 years of age at the time you write the will. Next, you must be of sound mind at the time it is written. In other words, you need to be capable of clear thought and actions that are in character for you.

Witnesses are important in the validation of a will. You need to have at least two credible witnesses who can attest to the will in your presence. However, they don’t necessarily need to be present at the same time to witness the other witnesses.

In Illinois, neither nuncupative nor holographic wills are valid. Nuncupative wills are oral wills, or wills that are entirely spoken. Holographic wills are wills that are entirely written by hand. Because these aren’t valid, you will want to get the process started on creating a proper, legal will as soon as possible.

You may also want to contact an attorney with experience in handling matters of the estate and the creation of wills in specific. Because of the strict criteria in place for a will to be valid, you don’t want to risk even one thing going wrong.