To make a valid will under Nevada law, the will (unless it is electronic or holographic) must be:
- In writing;
- Signed by the testator;
- Signed and attested by two competent witnesses.
The requirements to make a valid will under Nevada law are found at NRS 133.040.
Who Can Make a Valid Will In Nevada?
Every person of sound mind over the age of 18 years may make a valid will under Nevada law.
To be of sound mind (to have testamentary capacity) the testator must generally:
- Know the natural heirs of his estate;
- Have an understanding of the extent and value of his property; and
- Have an understanding of the extent of his wealth.
A Nevada Will Must Be Signed By the Testator
Under Nevada law, the testator must sign the will OR direct another person to sign the will for the testator. NRS 133.040.
The testator must be in the presence of the person signing the will, and expressly direct the person to sign the testator’s name. This is generally done when the testator is physically unable to sign the will herself. It should not be done if the testator is able to physically sign the will.
A Nevada Will Must Be Witnessed
In order to be valid, a Nevada will must be attested by at least two competent witnesses who subscribe their names to the will in the presence of the testator. NRS 133.040.
Be careful who you use as a witness. Under Nevada law, a devise to a subscribing witness is void, unless there are two other competent witnesses to the will. NRS 133.060. This means that if a beneficiary of the will is also one of the two witnesses to the will, the bequest to that beneficiary is void.
A creditor of the testator (someone who the testator owes money to) is considered a competent witness to a valid Nevada will. NRS 133.070.
Does a Nevada Will Have To Be Notarized To Be Valid?
There is no requirement under Nevada law that a will must be notarized in order to be valid. However, a will can be made “self-proving” under Nevada law, which requires a notary.
Any attesting witness to a will may sign a declaration under penalty of perjury or an affidavit before any person authorized to administer oaths stating such facts as the witness would be required to testify to in court to prove the will. This declaration or affidavit must be written on the will, or, if that is impracticable, on some paper attached thereto. NRS 133.050. Making a will self-proving under Nevada law can save time and effort when the will needs to be admitted to probate, because the witnesses will not have to be located to testify as to the validity of the execution of the will.
Nevada Revised Statute 133.050 sets forth the form for a self-proving declaration or affidavit, which should be substantially followed.
The best way to make sure that your testamentary wishes are carried out by the terms of your will, and to be sure that you have created a valid will under Nevada law, is to work with a Nevada probate lawyer.