Statutory wills follow the standard language contained in a state wills statute. Some states have a template and format for their wills and they can be easily followed by the testator. Statutory wills are therefore very simple and not all states allow the use of statutory wills.
Uses for Statutory wills
Statutory wills are easy wills to make and can be used under dire circumstances when a probate attorney is not available. In some states, statutory wills can be void if they do not meet the required standards of the jurisdiction. For this reason, it is always better to engage with an estate planning attorney to prepare testamentary documents.
Advantages of statutory wills include:
- Are simpler and less complex than other will types
- Can often be obtained easily
- Smaller risk of violating state requirements, since the document follows the state guidelines for language
- Statutory wills are easy to work with
Disadvantages associated with statutory wills:
- May not cover all the testator’s needs due to its simplicity
- Not allowed in every state
- Can leave gaps in coverage or have negative tax consequences
- Still requires some legal guidance for filling it out and executing it
What is a Non-Statutory Will?
Non-statutory wills are those will that don’t exactly follow the state will requirements. Some jurisdictions allow non-statutory wills, provided that they do not actually conflict with the state requirements. This may sometimes apply for example to living wills. Again, these types of distinctions are going to be different in each area, and may also be subject to change over time.
Statutory wills meeting legal requirements
In order to meet requirements for probate, a will must include certain attributes. It is important to remember that the will must be proven. The testator’s intellectual capacity can be proved through evidence, such as witnesses or handwriting experts who know them well enough for this task of proving their intent into writing a valid and enforceable document. In addition, there needs also physical signs from behavior patterns indicating they had made these decisions consciously because if not then chances are high you’ll have an invalidated contract. When a will is not valid, the courts must make determinations on how the assets of the estate are dispositioned and distributed.« Back to Glossary Index