You will find that the process to make a will online has similarities in every state, but there are differences you should know. Each U.S. state has specific requirements for a will to be considered valid. To make an online will in Arizona, you want to make sure you follow the state-specific statutes and to use a will that is customized for Arizona.
Can I Make a Will Online in Arizona?
Yes, you can make your will online in Arizona. To do so, we recommend using the online will making service USLegalWills. Their pricing is fair and the process of making an online will is easy.
The basic legal requirements, whether made online or not, for a will to be considered valid in Arizona are:
- The Testator, or the person writing the will, must be at least 18 years of age.
- The Testator must be of sound mind and cannot be unduly influenced.
- The Testator must have “testamentary intent,” which means that the Testator must write the will with the intent to give instructions for what happens to their property upon death.
- The will must be signed by at least two witnesses.
- The witnesses must see the Testator sign the will or hear the Testator’s acknowledgement of that signature.
- The Testator must see the witnesses sign the will.
The witnesses must be at least 18 years of age and of sound mind. For a will made after October 2019, unless the will is “self-proved,” neither witness can be a beneficiary in the will or be related to a beneficiary by blood, marriage, or adoption.
Most states require you to print out a will you make online and sign the physical copy (and have your witnesses sign the physical copy). However, Arizona is one of the few states that allow for electronic wills. Electronic wills are those that are written, signed, and witnessed digitally. While it sounds a lot simpler than printing out a paper copy, there are additional requirements for electronic wills to be valid. In Arizona, electronic wills must:
- Be created and maintained in an electronic record.
- Be given to a qualified custodian to store.
- Contain the electronic signature of the Testator and the electronic signatures of two witnesses.
- State the date that the Testator and witnesses electronically signed the will.
The witnesses have to be physically present when the Testator electronically signs the will (or when the Testator acknowledges the electronic signature). The witnesses have to electronically sign the will in the physical presence of the Testator as well.
Does Arizona Require a Notarized Will?
No, Arizona does not require you to notarize your will for it to be considered valid. As long as you follow the legal requirements detailed above, the will is legal. However, if your will is not notarized when presented to the probate court, it has to be validated. This often means a judge will require your witnesses to testify in court to its validity.
Arizona allows for wills to be “self-proven.” It is actually not the will itself that is notarized but a separate document, known as a “self-proving affidavit,” that is notarized and attached to the will. You and your witnesses sign the affidavit in front of a notary public, which you then attach to your will. Now your will is considered “self-proved.” This can help the probate court quickly validate the will and allow the executor of the estate to carry out the will.
You can find more information on how to make a “self-proving affidavit” for an online will in Arizona here.
Can I Name an Executor in Arizona?
In Arizona, an executor can be named in an online will. An executor is the person selected to handle settling the estate and who ensures that the will is followed after the Testator’s death. It is a good idea to name an executor in the will, and you want to choose someone you know and trust. You also want to discuss it with them before you select them, as being an executor can be a lengthy process. If you do not name an executor in your will, the Arizona probate court will appoint someone to act as the executor.
Here are the requirements for an executor in Arizona:
- The person must be at least 18 years old.
- The person must not have been judged incapacitated by a court.
Many states will not allow people who have felony convictions to serve as executor. In Arizona, there is no law that prohibits you from naming an executor who has been convicted of a felony. However, the court can find that the executor is “unsuitable” in formal proceedings if someone contests the executor’s competency.
Arizona has no special requirements to name an out-of-state individual as your executor. However, a “foreign corporation,” meaning a corporation based outside the state of Arizona, is ineligible to serve as your executor. But considering the duties of an executor may include handling day-to-day matters while settling your estate, it is wise to select someone who lives nearby.
Do I Need an Attorney to Make a Will in Arizona?
No, you do not require an attorney to make a will in Arizona. If your will is straightforward and your estate is simple, online will making is a good option. But it is wise to consult an estate planning attorney if your estate is large or complex.
To make an online will in Arizona, you want to make sure you follow all the state requirements for it to be valid. It is important to use an online will making service that has state-specific templates.
What Types of Wills Are Valid in Arizona?
As long as the will meets the federal and state-specific requirements for Arizona, whether the will is made online or not, it is valid.
Can I Make a Holographic Will in Arizona?
A holographic will is a handwritten last will and testament. It is written and signed by the Testator with no other witnesses or signatures. If all the material provisions and the signature are in the Testator’s handwriting, then it is valid in Arizona. However, holographic wills often face delays when presented to the probate court. The court will require the handwriting to be proven authentic, for example. To expedite the probate process, it is better to follow the guidelines and have the will witnessed or “self-proved.”
Can I Make a Nuncupative or Video Will in Arizona?
A nuncupative will is an oral will, which some people like to do on video. Arizona does not recognize nuncupative wills. If the individual is facing imminent death and does not have time to make a written will, a nuncupative will is better than nothing at all. For example, a nuncupative will can clarify some of your last wishes to family members. But the court will not recognize it, and it would be the same as if you died without a will.
How Is a Living Will Different from an Online Will in Arizona?
An advance healthcare directive, known as a living will, is a legally binding document that gives instructions on medical decisions and end-of-life care. A last will and testament and a living will are two separate documents. While a last will and testament contains how you wish to disburse your property after death, a living will contains medical directives and your desires for end-of-life care. Whether made online or not, a last will and testament is not the right place to leave those medical directives and end-of-life care instructions. That is because a last will and testament is usually not read until after the funeral, meaning if you left those types of instructions in it, your family members might not know about them until after the funeral.
Instead, you want to leave these instructions in a living will that you give to the executor of your estate. You can make both a last will and testament and a living will online. For more information on how to make a living will online in Arizona, you can go here.
Why Do I Need to Make a Will Online in Arizona?
If an individual dies without a will, the intestacy laws of Arizona will determine what happens to all the property which belonged to that person. It becomes a lengthy legal process. Arizona will appoint a guardian for any minor children and an executor of the estate to pay any debts and to handle the distribution of property. The estate will be divided between surviving family members according to the intestacy distribution laws of the particular state. Property held by the individual who died will often be held up in the probate court process for months at a time.
What Can I Include in an Online Will in Arizona?
As well as naming the executor of your estate, you can also include the following when you make an online will in Arizona:
- Choose the guardian for any minor children.
- Choose someone to oversee any property left to minor children.
- Choose someone to care for any remaining pets.
- Choose what to do with family heirlooms or sentimental items.
- Choose how you want to leave property or gifts to family, friends, charities, or organizations.
What Should Not Be Included in a Will in Arizona?
Remember that a last will and testament is not the right place for medical directives or end-of-life care. You should also not include funeral instructions in your will. This is because your will is not usually read until after the funeral.
For medical directives and end-of-life care, create a living will. For funeral directions, you can talk with a family member and/or make a separate document describing what you wish for your funeral arrangements.
You should give both the living will and the document that contains funeral wishes to the executor of your estate.
Can I Change or Revoke an Online Will Made in Arizona?
Even if you make the will online or not, a will is a legally binding document. But as long as you are alive, you can change or revoke it at any time.
In Arizona, here are ways to change or revoke a will:
- Physically destroy it (by burning, tearing, canceling, shredding, obliterating) with the intent to revoke it.
- Order someone to physically destroy it in front of you.
- Make a new will that says it revokes the old one or that has contradictory terms in it.
Whenever something big happens in your life—like marriage, divorce, birth of a child, adoption, or acquisition of significant assets which change the distribution of property, or relocation to another state or country—you should update your will and make a new one. If you want to make small changes, you can add an amendment (called a codicil) to your will. A codicil must be finalized in the same way that the original will is finalized.
How Do I Finalize an Online Will in Arizona?
You want to take these steps to finalize an online will in Arizona:
- Print it out (or store it electronically with a qualified custodian after it is signed),
- Sign or acknowledge your signature in front of two witnesses (or sign it electronically in front of two witnesses), and
- Have the two witnesses sign it in front of you (or have them electronically sign it in front of you).
In order to make a will “self-proven” in Arizona, you make a separate notarized document, the “self-proving affidavit,” with your and your witnesses’ signatures and attach it to your will.
Once you complete the steps listed above, you now have a legal last will and testament in Arizona.
USLegalWills is a leading provider of online wills. Their service has helped millions of people create a last will and testament over the last twenty years. We like that their services are easy to understand, reasonably priced, and produce an accurate document. You can also create a Living Will and other key end-of-life documents. It’s an affordable, accessible way to create an online last will and testament now. No more procrastinating. Get started with USLegalWills and leave your estate in order for your loved ones.