Wills and Estate Planning

Various Types of Wills Explained

Who knew there were so many types of wills? Make sure you understand the differences between them and what is recognized by your state to find the one that's best for you.

Creating a Will: What Type Is Right for You?

The decision to create a will is the first step in estate planning. But did you know that there is more than one type of will? Deciding which one is best for you will depend on many factors surrounding your estate and how you wish for it to be distributed. It also depends on whether or not the type of will you're considering is recognized as valid in all states.

A Simple or Statutory Will

Considered a one-size-fits-all will, a simple or statutory will is a document that can qualify as a do it yourself will by using an online state-specific template that meets your state's legal requirements. These types of wills work best for those who have small and less complicated estates.

The Holographic Will

Remember those old movies where people would scribble out their last will and testament on a piece of paper, sign it, and that was it? The holographic will works in much the same way by allowing you to handwrite, sign and date your will yourself - no witnesses required. However, what you need to know is that holographic wills can be subject to a great deal of vulnerability in probate court, not to mention that only around half of the states will actually recognize a holographic will as valid.

The Oral or Nuncupative Will

Also known as “deathbed wills” oral or nuncupative wills are spoken, not written. You simply express how you want your property distributed after you die to another person. Much like the holographic will, not all states recognize oral wills and those that do, impose strict requirements.

Pour-over Will

When you set up a living trust, you can use this type of will to name the trust as your primary beneficiary. When you die, any assets that were not already named in your trust will then “pour” into it by virtue of the will and be distributed according to its terms.

Conditional or Contingent Wills

A conditional or contingent will specifies that its provisions are only valid if a certain event does or doesn't happen. For example, a beneficiary may not be entitled to an inheritance until they reach a certain age, graduate college, or any other condition of your choosing. If the condition in the will is not met and the person does not have another will, the estate will be distributed as if no will existed.

No matter the type of will you choose, it is always a good idea to discuss your plans with an estate planning lawyer to be sure that your document will do what you want it to, and it is valid in your state. For more information on estate planning and wills, visit the Protective Financial Learning Center.

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All Learning Center articles are general summaries that can be used when considering your financial future at various life stages. The information presented is for educational purposes and is meant to supplement other information specific to your situation. It is not intended as investment advice and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

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Neither Protective Life nor its representatives offer legal or tax advice. We encourage you to consult with your financial adviser and legal or tax adviser regarding your individual situations before making investment, social security, retirement planning, and tax‐related decisions. For information about Protective Life and its products and services, visit www.protective.com.

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Creating a Will

Creating your will is very first step in the estate planning process. And while you have several different types of wills to choose from, it's important that you understand the differences between them, as well as how they may be recognized by your state. Creating a will doesn't have to remain a mystery. Just get the facts and discuss any questions with a qualified estate attorney or other professional. For more information, visit our learning center.