Losing a loved one can be difficult but dealing with probate and wills can cause bewilderment and distress. For one thing, you might find that your loved one has left a will that seems unusual in some way. There is more than one type of will so read on to find out more.
What a Last Will and Testament Should Do
A well-prepared will should be legal and leave no question as to the deceased's wishes. It covers all assets that are not already addressed in a trust, deed, or other estate vehicles. It should appoint an executor or personal representative to administer the estate. If minors are involved, the will should appoint a guardian to care for the child if both parents are deceased. Finally, it should be signed, and in many states, witnessed, with an authentic signature by a person of sound mind. Below you will find various types of wills.
Simple Will Prepared by a Lawyer
You can rest assured that a will prepared by a lawyer is, in almost all cases, legal. Many people don't think about that aspect of a will. However, wills must be approved by the probate court before they are ruled valid. If the will contains illegal provisions, parts of the will or the entire will can be ruled invalid. For instance, wills that ask a beneficiary to take part in an illegal act may be invalid.
Homemade or Holographic Wills
Wills created by the deceased, often without any legal advice or witnesses, may or may not be legal in all states. This type of will may be used in emergency situations or for those who value their privacy.
In some cases, a probate court will recognize an oral will. The legality varies, however, and you can imagine why these wills can take longer to probate. The person who is recording the spoken will must be of unimpeachable honesty. However, witnesses to the oral will can help lend it credence and legitimacy. Recorded wills, with or without video, fall into this category.
This type of will may be used in tandem with a trust. When assets are placed into a trust, they are exempt from probate. A pour-over will should mention all assets that may or may not be included in a trust. That way, any assets accidentally left out of the trust will be covered by the provisions of the will.
Contact a local attorney-at-law to learn more about making a will.