A Will (or Last Will and Testament) is a written document which controls the disposition of certain assets of a person at his or her death. In some states, Wills may take other forms; however, Illinois requires a Will to be written and executed with certain formalities to be valid.

Wills should be executed under the law of the state where the person writing the Will (called the Testator) lives. Under Illinois law, in order for a Will to be valid, it must have the following characteristics:

  1. The Testator must have capacity- that is, he or she must have the appropriate mental state to write a Will;
  2. The Will must be witnessed by at least two individuals who have obtained the minimum statutory age and who are not “interested” in the estate of the person writing the Will.
  3. The Testator must not be unduly influenced or otherwise under duress when writing the Will.


At Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC, we take these statutory requirements to heart. When executing documents, we take care to ensure that the Testator has the requisite mental state, and that the document, itself, is correctly written to carry out the wishes of the Testator.

There are many benefits to signing a valid Will. By signing a Will, a client may achieve the following:

  • Reduce Probate Costs by Using Independent Probate
  • Eliminate the Surety Bond Fee in Probate
  • Name Beneficiaries Outside of Statutory Scheme
  • Choose the Executor and Detail the Role of the Executor
  • Detail Burial/Final Disposition Requests
  • Name Guardian of Minor Children
  • Identify Contingent Beneficiaries, Guardians, and Executors


Depending on the Testator’s overall estate plan, his or her Will may be either a Simple Will or a Pour Over Will.


For more information contact us at 847-253-8800 or info@navigantlaw.com