A will or testament is a legal document by which a person, the testator, expresses their wishes as to how their property is to be distributed at death, and names one or more persons, the executor, to manage the estate until its final distribution.
Though it has at times been thought that a “will” was historically limited to real property while “testament” applies only to dispositions of personal property (thus giving rise to the popular title of the document as “Last Will and Testament”), the historical records show that the terms have been used interchangeably. Thus, the word “will” validly applies to both personal and real property. A will may also create a testamentary trust that is effective only after the death of the testator.
Types of wills generally include:
- Holographic will – written in the handwriting of the testator; in many jurisdictions, the signature and the material terms of the holographic will must be in the handwriting of the testator.
- Self-proved – in solemn form with affidavits of subscribing witnesses to avoid probate.
- Mystic – sealed until death.
- Serviceman’s will – will of person in active-duty military service and usually lacking certain formalities, particularly under English law.
- Reciprocal/Mirror/Mutual – wills made by two or more parties (typically spouses) that make similar or identical provisions in favor of each other.
- will in solemn form – signed by testator and witnesses.
To learn more and schedule a free consultation, please call The Cawlfield Law Firm at 972-382-5400, located on the historic downtown square in Celina, Texas.