To make a valid will (other than a holographic or electronic will) under Utah law the will must be:
- In writing;
- Signed by the testator;
- Acknowledged and signed by two witnesses.
The requirements for creating a valid will under Utah law are found in Utah Code §75-2-502.
Who Can Make a Valid Will In Utah?
Under Utah law, any person 18 years old or older who is of sound mind may make a valid will. Utah Code §75-2-501.
To be of sound mind (to have testamentary capacity) to make a valid will under Utah law, the testator must generally understand:
- The nature and extent of his or her property;
- The natural objects of his or her bounty;
- The business in which he or she is engaged and the fact that he or she is disposing of his or her assets;
- The effect of making a will; and
- How all of these elements relate to each other to form a plan for the disposition of his or her assets.
A Utah Will Must Be Signed By the Testator
Utah law requires that a will be signed by the testator OR signed in the testator’s name by some other individual in the testator’s conscious presence and by the testator’s direction. Utah Code §75-2-502. The preferred scenario is that the testator sign his or her own will.
However, if because of some physical impediment the testator is unable to sign the will himself or herself, the testator can direct another person to sign the testator’s name to the will, and the will is valid under Utah law. The person signing the testator’s name must sign in the testator’s conscious presence and by the testator’s direction.
A Utah Will Must Be Properly Witnessed
Utah law also has a witness requirement to make a valid will. Utah Code §75-2-502.
A Utah will must be signed by at least two individuals, each of whom signed within a reasonable time after he witnessed either the signing of the will or the testator’s acknowledgement of that signature or acknowledgement of the will. It is best practice to have both witnesses present and sign at the time that the testator signs the will.
Who Can Serve As a Witness To a Utah Will?
Any individual generally competent to be a witness may act as a witness to a Utah will.
The signing of a will by an interested witness (one who is a beneficiary under the terms of the will) does not make the will or any provision of it invalid under Utah law. Utah Code §75-2-505.
Does a Utah Will Have To Be Notarized To Be Valid?
No, there is no requirement that in order to be valid a Utah will has to be notarized.
A will can be simultaneously executed, attested, and made self-proved under Utah law. To make a will self-proved, the testator and witnesses must sign affidavits in front of a notary. Making a will self-proved saves time and money when a will needs to be admitted to probate, because the witnesses to the will do not have to testify as to the validity of the will and the formalities of its execution – they have already done so by executing the self-proving affidavit.
The rule governing self-proved wills is found at Utah Code §75-2-504. This section contains a form for the self-proving affidavit, which should be substantially followed.
The best way to make sure you have complied with the formalities for the execution of a valid will under Utah law is to consult with a Utah probate lawyer.