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How Do Arizona Laws Affect the Validity of Out-of-State Wills?

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Are Out-of-State Wills Valid in Arizona?

When you move to Arizona from another state, you need to update essential things such as your driver’s license and voter’s registration to comply with state laws. You may also need to determine whether to update an estate plan you created in your former state.

Estate planning and probate lawyers in Phoenix explain that out-of-state Wills are valid in the state. However, it is recommended that a skilled legal expert evaluate them to ensure they adhere to state laws and are enforceable. You may need to make a few adjustments to reflect the local requirements.

What Makes a Will Valid?

Different states have varying legal provisions for what constitutes a valid Will. Nonetheless, there are several common elements that states recognize that must be present:

  • The Will must be drafted by a person who is at least 18 years
  • The testator (Will maker) must be competent and must not have written the Will under duress or undue external influence
  • The Will must be typewritten
  • The testator and two or more adult and competent witnesses must sign the Will.
  • The Will must be dated and notarized.
  • It must comply with state formatting laws.
  • It must not have any edits or self-made edits or notes such as crossing out one name for another

Arizona may not accept handwritten Wills, and depending on the circumstances, you may have to attach a self-proving affidavit to show you properly signed it in the presence of witnesses. Consult skilled Arizona Wills lawyers to establish whether your Will is acceptable and what steps to take to make it enforceable.

What Types of Out-of-State Wills Are Valid in Arizona?

The state recognizes various types of valid Wills, as Arizona Wills attorneys highlight below:

Non Self-Approved Will

If you have a written Will on which you have appended your signature or someone else signed in your name in your presence and with your consent, then you have a non-self-approved Will. After your demise, the court will require your witnesses to appear in court to testify about you signing the Will in their presence. Only then and after assured compliance with other requirements, will the court deem the Will Valid.

Self-Approved Will

For your Will to be self-approved, you can ask your witnesses to sign an affidavit stating that they witnessed you sign the Will. The affidavit must be signed before a notary public. Self-approving your will minimizes the time it takes to locate witnesses and have them come to court to testify after your demise.

The affidavit proves the Will’s validity and may eliminate the need for witnesses to appear in court. A self-approved Will can significantly minimize the time it takes to settle your estate, saving your loved ones from a lengthy probate.


Your Will must be in writing to be acceptable in Arizona, as the state doesn’t accept verbal Wills. Some courts will accept handwritten Wills as long as they are in your handwriting. But this is at the discretion of the probate register. Handwritten wills are sometimes considered unacceptable.

Arizona Will attorneys are quick to add that just because this type of Will may be valid doesn’t make it the most suitable.

Handwritten Wills can sometimes be complex to read, making it challenging for the executor to interpret or enforce your wishes. If your current Will is holographic, consider having skilled lawyers review it and draft it into a typed one that accurately reflects your wishes and complies with state law requirements.

What Are Some Reasons to Consider Updating an Out-of-State Will in Arizona?

One of the primary reasons to update your Will after moving to Arizona is to reduce the likelihood that a court could find it invalid for any reason. If no prior Will exists or is brought back into effect because of the invalidity of the most current Will, the court will distribute the estate based on Arizona’s intestacy laws in that case which for most people, do not conform with their intentions for their assets and loved ones.

Your assets could end up in other people’s hands rather than the intended beneficiaries. You can avoid potential family disputes and potential legal complexities by updating your Will under the following circumstances:

  • You acquire or receive substantial property or assets in the new state
  • You get married or divorced
  • You get children
  • You take on business interests

Experienced estate planning and probate attorneys in Chandler can assess your current Will and help you make the necessary adjustments to ensure its validity and enforceability.

A Skilled Estate Planning Lawyer Assessing Your Out-of-State will for Validity

While Arizona may recognize out-of-state Wills, they must meet specific legal criteria to ensure validity. Given the complexity of cross-border estate plans, it’s advisable to consult knowledgeable legal experts specializing in estate law for proper legal guidance and representation.

Our focus at Metropolitan Law Group is to help clients with their estate planning needs while ensuring they draft legally acceptable and enforceable documents to protect their rights and future. If you have an out-of-state Will and have concerns concerning its validity, our skilled estate planning and probate attorneys in Phoenix can help you. Call us at 480-405-1970 for a case strategy session.

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