Can a video will stand up in court?

My father recently passed away, and did not have a written will in place. Prior to his death, he recorded a video will, in which he leaves me the majority of his estate. Now, some of our other relatives are questioning the video will validity. Can a video will stand up in court?

Answers (1)

In order for a will to be valid, there are certain criteria that must be met. First off, you must be of legal age (18 in most states) in order to leave a will. Also, you must be mentally competent, meaning you understand your actions and the extent of your property, when writing the will, and acknowledge that this document expresses your final word on what happens to your property. In most situations, this will must be written, signed (unless unable to do so, in which case you can designate someone else to sign in your presence). After drawing up your will, an additional step must be taken of executing the will, which requires having at least two witnesses who have no potential conflict of interest sign the will as well.

As indicated above, the will must be in writing excluding very rare exceptions, such as imminent death. People often leave video wills in which they explain why the estate was distributed in the way it was. The video may also show the execution of a written will, or demonstrate mental competency. In general, video wills are intended to supplement, not substitute, a properly prepared written will. 

If a will does not meet the criteria above, it may be disallowed by the court.

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