Matthew S. Payne is a Schaumburg-based attorney with a 20-year record of success in civil litigation, real estate law and estate planning.

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Is your will valid in Illinois?

On Behalf of | Jul 27, 2022 | Estate Planning

Illinois has laws around how to create a will. If you don’t follow the correct procedure, then the court may deem your will invalid after your death and follow intestacy law to distribute your estate.


You need two witnesses to observe you sign or acknowledge the will. They must also determine that you are of sound mind and sign the will as confirmation that it’s valid to the extent of their knowledge. In Illinois, you could have each witness validate your will separately if you prefer. Your witnesses do, however, have to sign in front of you. They also can’t be beneficiaries of your will.

Sound mind and memory

You must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind and memory to write a will. Emancipated minors may also write a will. Illinois typically considers someone to not be of sound mind and memory if a court has declared that they aren’t. If you have a physical health issue or you tend to be forgetful, these aren’t reasons to invalidate your will. Illinois allows you to have someone sign your will on your behalf if you’re physically unable to. The person who signs your will can’t be one of your witnesses.

Typed and printed

Only typed and printed wills are valid in Illinois. The state doesn’t recognize handwritten, oral or digital wills. Illinois does allow e-wills, but there is a certain process that you must follow for the e-will to be valid. You could also write your will on a typewriter. Remember that state laws change over time, so you should double-check current state laws to know what’s acceptable.

Writing your last will and testament is an important process that you want to make sure you do correctly. Errors when writing a will could invalidate it.