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The three types of wills recognized in California

| Jan 9, 2020 | Wills |

Determining how to leave one’s assets after death can be difficult. There may be a number of emotions that come into play pertaining to one’s own mortality and relationships with loved ones. As a result, some may find it difficult to find the best path forward. Fortunately, the estate planning process can be molded to fit everyone’s needs. This week, let’s take a look at the types of wills that may come into play during the estate planning process.

The first type of will is an attested will. These wills are preferred because they are typed out and other individuals witness their signing. These witnesses should not have any interest in the will, meaning that they are not inheriting anything through the will. This prevents any claims of coercion or undue influence arising later down the road. Attested wills are also self-authenticating, so long as they are signed under penalties of perjury, which means that no testimony is needed to prove their legal validity. This can speed up the probate process.

The second type of will is a holographic will. These documents are handwritten by an estate planner and generally do not have the signatures of any witnesses. These wills can be legally valid, but generally only if the testator’s handwriting can be proven by witness testimony.

The third type of will is the statutory will. These wills are essentially forms provided by the state that allow individuals to fill in the blanks. These wills also must be signed under penalties of perjury by at least two witnesses. Although these types of wills may seem the easiest, they often do not provide the flexibility individuals need to ensure the proper distribution of their assets.

As readers can see, there are a number of options at their disposal when it comes to will creation alone, not to mention other estate planning tools, like trusts. To ensure that drafters are able to create an estate plan that truly meets one’s needs, readers must first understand estate planning law.

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