Nevada law provides for two ways of creating a valid and binding Last Will and Testament. The first method is by drafting a will, in writing, that is signed by the testator or by an attending person at the testator’s direction, which is attested to by at least two competent witnesses who subscribe their names to the will in the presence of the testator. The second method is often referred to as a “holographic will,” wherein the signature, date and material provisions of a will are written by the hand of the testator. For a holographic will, there is no requirement that it be witnessed or notarized.
When a document meant to be a Will does not comply with the requirements for either a witnessed or holographic Will, a court may not enforce the directions provided about who beneficiaries are and what they should receive. Instead, a court may substitute Nevada’s default rules governing disposition of a person’s estate, which may be completely different from a testator’s wishes.
To ensure that your estate is distributed according to your wishes, it is important to seek professional legal assistance in drafting a Last Will and Testament or other testamentary documents. Be wary of download-able forms, templates, or non-legal professionals who attempt to provide low-cost alternatives for drafting Wills or Trusts, as these ‘low cost’ alternatives tend to be the much more expensive option in the long run, as families and loved ones have to pay extra attorney's fees and court costs if these documents are not drafted properly.
To review a Will you have already created, or discuss the requirements of what constitutes a valid Last Will and Testament under the laws of Nevada, contact an attorney at JEFFREY BURR today.
-Attorney Rebecca J. Haines