Frequently Asked Questions

When creating a will, you must possess the legal competency or mental capacity to do so.  Otherwise, the will may not be considered valid by the court. However, simply because someone has a mental illness or disease, that does not mean they automatically lack the required mental capacity.  In fact, if the testator has periods of clarity, he or she could still be considered competent at the time the will is executed, if it occurs during that period of lucidity.

The answer will depend on all of the circumstances in your situation, but there are living trust and testamentary trusts. Testamentary trusts are created in a will and take effect when you die. They can be used to manage the distribution of assets that weren't specifically dealt with in the last will and testament form, such as property you acquired later.

You should choose witnesses who are adults (at least 18 years old), are not named as beneficiaries, and are not the spouse of a named beneficiary in your will.

Executor(s) of your estate are entitled to payment, however, most executors who are close family members do not ask to be paid. In situations when an executor gets paid, probate courts decide what is reasonable pay based state laws. 


An executor, also referred to  as your personal representative, is named in your will as the person who will carry out your wishes after your death. Your personal representative pays your outstanding debts from your estate's assets and distributes your remaining assets (real and personal property) to heirs that you name as beneficiaries.

Your personal representative, also referred to as executor, is named in your will as the person who will carry out your wishes after your death. Your personal representative pays your outstanding debts from your estate's assets and distributes your remaining assets (real and personal property) to heirs that you name as beneficiaries.

Yes, the executor of your will can also be a beneficiary or trustee of your estate. 

A codicil is a legal document that changes one or more parts of your will. The codicil needs to refer to the sections in your original will being changed. Codicils can add confusion and add risk of challenges to your will. Just like a will, codicils need to be witnessed by at least two people who are not beneficiaries of either your original will or the codicil.


Your will needs to be witnessed by at least two people (three in Vermont) who are not named as beneficiaries in your will and are at least 18 years old. 


There are two ways to change your will: 

  1. Create a new will. There is no additional cost for a wills.com user to change a will.
  2. Add a codicil, a legal document that changes one or more parts of your will. The codicil needs to refer to the sections in your original will being changed. Codicils can add confusion and risk of challenges to your will.
    Just like a will, codicils need to be witnessed by at least two people who are not beneficiaries of either the codicil or your original will. 


If you move to a new state, you may need a new will. It depends on how any differences in the laws of new and previous state relate to your will. Although states typically recognize a will that complies with the laws of your previous state, a move is often a good time to update your will. Creating an updated will that is compliant with your new state is very easy on wills.com.

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