Will Signing Requirements

  1. Two disinterested witnesses:
    1. Every will needs 2 disinterested witnesses.  This can be anyone who is not a beneficiary under the will and age 14 or older.
  2. The testator/testatrix and the witnesses must sign the will in each other’s presence.
  3. The testator/testratix must be of sound mind (having testamentary capacity) at the time the will is signed.
  4. The testator/testratix must be 18 years or older at the time the will is signed (some exceptions apply).

wills, last will and testament

Contingent Trusts

Each last will & testament comes with a contingent trust. This provision protects young beneficiaries from inheriting property or funds before a certain age.

Their inheritance will go into a contingent trust, managed by a trustee, until they reach a certain age. You decide what age that is.

The trustee can use those funds for the beneficiary’s health, education, maintenance, and support. Once the beneficiary reaches the age you set forth, he/she will receive any unused funds from the trust outright and free of trust.

contingent trusts

Testamentary Trusts

These are trusts that are created in a will. They are often used to protect any inheritance from a beneficiary that may be irresponsible with money.

They can also be used to prevent the spouse of your adult child to have any access to the inheritance. These can last for several years or until the beneficiary dies.

A trustee would manage the funds and the funds can be used for the health, education, maintenance, or support of the beneficiary.

testamentary trusts

Supplemental Needs Trust

This is a trust provided for in your will that is recommended for any beneficiary that has any special needs.

The funds the beneficiary inherits goes into a supplemental needs trust and not directly to the beneficiary. This protects any public benefits the beneficiary may be receiving and allows him/her to continue to receive the public benefits.

supplemental needs trusts

Advanced Directive

“Artificially administered nutrition and hydration” means the provision of nutrients and/or fluids by a tube inserted in a vein, under the skin in the subcutaneous tissues, or in the gastrointestinal tract.

Picture:  that of a nurse administering an IV bag to a patient in a hospital bed – or a nurse just standing next to the bed

Irreversible Condition

“Irreversible condition” means a condition, injury, or illness:

  1.  that may be treated, but is never cured or eliminated;
  2. that leaves a person unable to care for or make decisions for the person’s own self; and
  3. that, without life-sustaining treatment provided in accordance with the prevailing standard of medical care, is fatal.


Many serious illnesses such as cancer, failure of major organs (kidney, heart, liver, or lung), and serious brain disease such as Alzheimer’s dementia may be considered irreversible early on.  There is no cure, but the patient may be kept alive for longer if the patient receives life-sustaining treatments.  Late in the course of the same illness, the disease may be considered terminal when, even with treatment, the patient is expected to die.  You may wish to consider which burdens of treatment you would be willing to accept in an effort to achieve a particular outcome.  This is a very personal decision that you may wish to discuss with your physician and family.

“Life-sustaining treatment” means treatment that, based on reasonable medical judgment, sustains the life of a patient and without which the patient will pass away.  The term includes both life-sustaining medications and artificial life support such as mechanical breathing machines, kidney dialysis treatment, and artificially administered nutrition and hydration.  Please note: the term does not include the administration of pain management medication, the performance of a medical procedure to provide comfort, or any other medical care provided to alleviate pain.

 Terminal Condition

“Terminal condition” means an incurable condition that according to reasonable medical judgment will cause death within six months, even with available life-sustaining treatment provided.


Many serious illnesses may be considered irreversible early in the course of the illness, but they may not be considered terminal until the disease is fairly advanced. You again may wish to consider the relative benefits and burdens of treatment and discuss your wishes with your physician and family.


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