To make a valid will under Nebraska law, the will must be:
- In writing;
- Signed by the testator;
- Signed by two witnesses.
The requirements for making a valid will under Nebraska law are found in NE Code § 30-2327.
Who Can Make a Valid Will In Nebraska?
Any person eighteen or more years of age or who is not a minor and who is of sound mind may make a valid will in Nebraska. NE Code § 30-2326.
To be of sound mind (to have “testamentary capacity”) under Nebraska law, the testator must, at the time the will is signed:
- Know both the extent and value of their property;
- Be aware of their natural beneficiaries;
- Be aware of the disposition being made;
- Know how the former elements related to form a plan of property distribution.
Testamentary capacity is not an element of due execution under Nebraska law, meaning that a will can be executed correctly and be valid as to the formalities required to execute a will even if a testator lacks a sound mind. In re Estate of Flider, 213 Neb. 153 (1982). Even if a will is executed correctly, if the testator lacked testamentary capacity to make the will, the will is invalid.
A Nebraska Will Must Be Signed By the Testator
To be valid, a Nebraska will must be in writing and signed by the testator or in the testator’s name by some other individual in the testator’s presence and by his direction.
A testator should sign the will himself if possible. If the testator is physically unable to sign, the testator can direct another individual to sign the will in his presence. NE Code § 30-2327.
Witness Requirements For a Valid Nebraska Will
Nebraska law requires that a will have two witnesses that witnessed either the signing of the will or the testator’s acknowledgment of the signature or of the will. NE Code § 30-2327.
In order to be valid, a Nebraska will must be signed by witnesses prior to the testator’s death. In re Estate of Flicker, 215 Neb. 495. An attesting witness is not required to probe into the testator’s mental capacity prior to signing the will as a witness. In re Estate of Camin, 212 Neb. 490.
Does a Nebraska Will Have To Be Notarized To Be Valid?
No, there is no requirement under Nebraska law that a will has to be notarized in order to be valid. However, Nebraska law does allow a testator to make a will “self-proving.” A self-proving will is signed in front of a notary and speeds up the probate process because the will can be admitted to probate without the testimony of the attesting witnesses.
Nebraska Revised Statute § 30-2329 provides the form used to make a will self-proving, and should be substantially followed.
The best way to make sure that you have created a valid will is to work with a Nebraska probate lawyer.