Jan Neal Law Firm, LLC

Alabama Estate, Elder and Special Needs Law


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Who Can Make a Will?

A person must be 18 years of age and of sound mind to make a valid will in Alabama.

Although a person does not reach the full age of majority in Alabama until he reaches the age of 19, he can execute a will at age 18.

To have testamentary capacity the person making the will, who is known as the testator, must understand the business and consequences of making a will.  He must be able to remember the property being given in the will, the persons who are his next of kin, and how the property will be disposed of in the will. 

Interestingly, case law in Alabama states that a person may have testamentary capacity while not having the ability to transact ordinary business of life.  This would lead to the conclusion that testamentary capacity is actually lower than capacity required to make a power of attorney.    

Alabama law presumes that all persons 18 and over have the capacity to make a will, but ethics would require an attorney to screen for capacity before preparing a will.  When a will is offered for probate and challenged for lack of capacity, the person challenging the will must prove that the testator lacked testamentary capacity at the time he or she signed the will.