Writing a will is similar in every state; however, every U.S. state has its own specific legal requirements for a will to be recognized as valid. It is important to know what these requirements are for the state you are writing your will in—whether you make the will online or not, the same legal conditions must be met for the will to be valid. When you write an online will in Kansas, you want to make sure you follow the state-specific statutes and that you use an online will that is customized for Kansas.
Can I make a will online in Kansas?
Yes, you can make a will online in Kansas. Use an online will making service to do so. We recommend USLegalWills. When you make an online will in Kansas, you must meet the same legal requirements of wills in general for it to be recognized as valid.
In Kansas, the legal requirements for a will to be valid are:
- You (the person writing the will, also known as the Testator) must be at least 18 years of age and be of sound mind. Emancipated minors may also write a will in Kansas.
- You must have the will in writing. The state of Kansas does not allow digital-only wills—you must print out a will you make online.
- You must sign the will at the end of the document, and you must sign it in front of two witnesses. If you are physically unable to sign, you can direct someone to sign on your behalf in front of you and two witnesses (this person cannot be one of the witnesses).
- You must have the will signed by at least two competent, adult witnesses. The witnesses must see you sign the will (or hear you acknowledge your signature), and you must see them sign the will.
In Kansas, the witnesses should be “disinterested parties” (that is, they are not beneficiaries in the will). If a witness is also a beneficiary, their portion of the inheritance will be voided unless certain other conditions are met. It is best to select two witnesses who are not beneficiaries in the will in order to avoid legal complications.
Does Kansas require a notarized will?
No, Kansas does not require a notarized will. However, it is important to understand what the probate process entails regarding wills. The first step after a will is presented to the probate court is that the will must be validated. A will that meets the above legal requirements is a valid will, but the court has to determine that it meets those legal requirements. This process takes time.
Choosing to notarize your will can help the court quickly determine its validity by possibly eliminating the need for the witnesses to testify. However, it is actually not the will itself that gets notarized; instead, there is a separate document, called a “self-proving affidavit,” which is notarized and attached to the will.
To make a will “self-proved” in Kansas, you and your two witnesses make sworn statements (affidavits) in front of a notary public. These sworn statements are as though you are making them before the court, attesting that this is your last will and testament and that you and your witnesses signed it. You will also receive a certificate with an official seal, and then you attach all of this to your will.
Now your will is considered “self-proved,” and the court uses this to validate your will and usually deems it unnecessary to call upon the witnesses to testify.
Can I name an executor in Kansas?
Yes, you can name an executor in your will. You can also name an executor when you make an online will in Kansas. The executor is the person chosen to settle the estate, ensuring that the will is followed. It is a good idea to choose someone you know and trust as the executor, and you can name more than one person to act as co-executors. If you do not name someone in your will to act as the executor, the probate court will appoint someone.
Here are the requirements for an executor in Kansas:
- The executor must be at least 18 years of age, and
- The executor must be of sound mind (meaning, not judged incapacitated by a court).
Most states have laws that prohibit people who have felony convictions from being able to serve as executor. However, Kansas has no laws that prohibit this.
To name an executor who lives out-of-state, there is an additional legal requirement in Kansas:
- A non-resident executor must appoint someone who resides in the county where the estate is being probated to be their “agent.” Your executor’s in-state agent accepts any legal papers related to your estate.
Do I need an attorney to make a will in Kansas?
No, an attorney is not required to make a will in Kansas. With larger or more complex estates, it is always best to consult an estate planning attorney. But with a simple estate and a straightforward will, online will making is a good option. When you make an online will in Kansas, make sure to follow the legal requirements for the state and use an online will making service with state-specific templates.
What types of wills are valid in Kansas?
Any type of will which meets the federal and state-specific requirements is valid in Kansas, whether the will is made online or not.
Can I make a holographic will in Kansas?
A holographic will is a handwritten last will and testament that is only signed by the Testator with no other witnesses. Kansas does not recognize holographic wills.
Kansas may accept a holographic will if it was made and executed in a state that recognizes holographic wills, but holographic wills made in Kansas are not considered legally binding. This is not because it is handwritten but because Kansas requires two witnesses to sign the will for it to be valid.
Can I make a nuncupative or video will in Kansas?
A nuncupative will is an oral will, sometimes known as a deathbed will, and sometimes people wish to leave oral wills on video. While nuncupative wills are not ideal, they are allowed in Kansas under certain conditions. For a nuncupative will to be recognized in Kansas, the following must apply:
- It must have been made in the Testator’s last sickness.
- It can only give away personal property.
- It must be reduced to writing and subscribed by two competent, disinterested witnesses within 30 days.
How is a living will different from an online will in Kansas?
A living will (also known as an advance directive) is a legal document containing instructions on medical decisions and end-of-life care. A living will and a last will and testament are two separate documents. A last will and testament, whether made online or not, is not the right place to leave medical directives or end-of-life care because generally, a last will and testament is not consulted until after an individual’s funeral.
Instead, you make a living will for these instructions. You can make both a last will and testament and a living will online. You can find more information about living wills in Kansas here.
In Kansas, these are the requirements for a living will:
- You must be at least 18 years old or an emancipated minor.
- It must be in writing, dated, and signed.
- Two or more witnesses also must sign it. These witnesses cannot be related to you by blood or marriage, entitled to your estate, or directly financially responsible for your medical care. Another option is to have the living will acknowledged by a notary public.
- It must be substantially in the same form as the sample in Kansas Statute Section 65-28, 103 (found here).
It is your responsibility to make sure your family and your doctors know you have a living will. You should store the original somewhere safe that your family has access to, as well as make copies for your doctors.
In Kansas, if you are pregnant, the living will is not considered effective until the baby is born or dies naturally.
Why do I need to make a will online in Kansas?
When someone dies without a will, there are laws that determine what happens with their estate. These are known as intestacy laws, and every state has its own intestacy laws.
If someone dies without a will in Kansas, the estate will be divided between surviving family members according to the intestacy distribution laws of Kansas. It is a lengthy legal process, and property can often be held up for months at a time. The court will also appoint guardians for any minor children, as well as an executor for the estate.
This is why it is important to make a will—if you own property (whether monetary, real estate, or any other personal possessions) or if you have any minor children, it is best to make the process as easy as possible if something were to happen to you.
When you make a will online in Kansas, you decide how to distribute your property as well as select a guardian for any minors. Having a will makes settling your estate a much quicker process.
What can I include in an online will in Kansas?
In addition to naming an executor for the estate and choosing guardians for any minor children, you can also include the following when making a will online in Kansas:
- You can name a trusted person to oversee any property left to minor children.
- You can name a trusted person to care for any remaining pets.
- You can leave property or gifts to family members or friends.
- You can leave property or gifts to charities or organizations.
- You can distribute family heirlooms and other sentimental items.
- You can distribute other personal or sentimental items.
What should not be included in a will in Kansas?
A last will and testament is not the right place for medical directives, designating end-of-life care, or funeral instructions. Funeral arrangements are usually made immediately after a person dies. And typically, it is not until after the funeral that the will is read and the process of settling the estate begins. This means that if any funeral directions are left in the will, family members may not know about them until after the funeral. Medical directives and end-of-life care stipulations left in a will are not legally binding, as these must written in a specific form.
To designate end-of-life care and other medical directives, create a living will.
To leave funeral directions, you can make a separate document describing your wishes and give this to the executor of your estate or other trusted family members. You can also just simply talk with a family member to make your wishes known.
Can I change or revoke an online will made in Kansas?
Whether you make the will online or not, a will is a legally binding document. However, as long as the Testator is living, the will can be changed or revoked.
The ways you can change or revoke a will in Kansas are:
- Writing a new will or other writing explicitly revoking the prior will,
- Tearing, shredding, burning, or otherwise destroying the will with the intent of revoking it, or
- Ordering someone else to destroy it in front of you.
If you write a new will or write another document to revoke the prior will, it must be done with the same formalities (in writing, signed in front of and by two disinterested witnesses). To make only minor changes to a will, you can add an amendment called a codicil. The codicil must also be finalized with the same formalities as a will.
It is a good idea to update your will after any major life change. In Kansas, if you get married or if you have a child (by birth or adoption), the will is automatically revoked. If you get divorced, any provisions that benefit the former spouse are revoked. So, it is important to keep that in mind if you write a will but then get married, divorced, or have children after—the prior will is revoked and may no longer be valid.
How do I finalize an online will in Kansas?
To finalize an online will in Kansas, take these steps:
- Print it out,
- Sign it or acknowledge your signature in front of two witnesses, and
- Have the two witnesses sign it in front of you.
Remember, the two witnesses should be “disinterested parties,” meaning they are not beneficiaries in the will. If a witness is also a beneficiary in the will, their inheritance may be voided.
To make your will “self-proved” in Kansas, you and your witnesses make sworn statements in front of a notary public. You will attach this (with a certificate with the notary’s official seal) to your will, making it “self-proved.”
Special considerations in Kansas:
- If you make a will and then get married, or if you have (or adopt) a child, your will is automatically revoked.
- If you make a will and get divorced, Kansas law revokes any language that leaves provisions to your former spouse (and your former spouse is no longer the executor of your estate if you named them such).
- Kansas recognizes common law marriages; if the couple is legally able to marry, and they consider themselves to be married as well as publicly hold themselves out as married, the state will recognize them as common law married.
It is important to write a new will or revisit your will if you marry, divorce, or have any children after writing a will. Your prior will may be revoked and no longer valid.
We tested multiple online will services to find out which ones produce the best last will and testament. Of all the wills we created—and had our lawyer review—USLegalWills had the best end product. To make an online will in Kansas, we recommend USLegalWills.