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Having at least a basic, simple will is a good idea for everyone. Here's what they do, how to create one, and legal issues that may arise.
Why You Need a Will
Everyone should have the most basic estate planning document: a simple will.
Online Wills & Do-It-Yourself Will Making Software
Everybody needs a will—but most people don't need to pay a lawyer to draft it. Learn whether online wills and DIY software can work for you.
Living Trusts vs. Wills
Both a living trust and a will serve to transfer property after we pass away, but they work very differently.
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How to Determine If a Will Is Valid
It isn't usually hard to tell whether or not a will meets your state's legal requirements for validity. Here's what to look for.
Are Handwritten or "Holographic" Wills Valid?
A holographic or handwritten will can be a binding legal document, in some states and in some circumstances.
Is an Oral (Spoken but Not Written) Will Valid?
Oral wills might have worked when many people were illiterate, but not today. These days, a written and signed will is necessary.
Is a "Deathbed Will" Valid?
Last-minute wills, often called "deathbed wills," can be just as valid as a will created in a lawyer's office.
How a "Pour-Over" Will Works
If the deceased person left a living trust as well as a will, you're likely to be dealing with a "pour-over" will.
What is a Self-Proving Will?
Wills with a "self-proving affidavit" attached are easier to prove valid in probate court.
Using a Video for a Last Will & Testament?
Video recordings, by themselves, are not valid wills. But they can have other uses.
What Does The Executor Do When There's No Will?
If you're wrapping up an estate and can't find a will—or the will you've got isn't valid—state law steps in.
The Witness Requirement to Execute a Will
A will typically must be properly witnessed to be valid.
How Does Divorce Affect a Will?
Does a former spouse still inherit from the estate? Depends on where you live.
How to Tell If a Will Was Revoked or Replaced
It's not enough just to find the will--the executor also must make sure that the will-maker didn't revoke or replace it later.
How Can a Will Be Contested or Challenged in Court?
It's usually difficult to successfully challenge a will--but it happens.
Problems of a Joint Will for Married Couples
Any estate planning lawyer will tell you that a joint will, usually created by a married couple, is generally a bad idea.
The Meaning of "Children" in a Will
The word “children” in a will might seem simple, but it can get complicated due to circumstances like adoptions, stepparent relationships, and timing.
How "Undue Influence" Can Invalidate a Will
If the will doesn't truly reflect the wishes of the deceased person because someone unethically pressured that person, family members can file an undue influence lawsuit in probate court.