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What are the different types of wills?
What are the different types of wills?
What are the different types of wills?
Estate Plan Lawyer » Resources » What are the different types of wills?

Protecting your loved ones should not be difficult, expensive or stressful.
It should be everyone’s right to put in place a system that allows trusted people to make decisions on your behalf, to transfer assets in a timely and affordable way, to look after your health care needs in later life, and to protect dependent children should something happen to you.
A person who writes a will is called a testator and there are strict guidelines for preparing and witnessing a will.
You may be surprised to know that there are many different types of legally enforceable wills available.

Statutory wills

A statutory will is one of the most basic types of wills available. A template is provided and you can simply fill in the blanks regarding the distribution of assets and guardians for your minor children, if applicable.
As long as you have at least two adult witnesses sign the document, you’re good to go. It can be filed with the county probate court and will be legally binding for one person’s estate (so may not be the best option for a married couple).

Self-proved wills

Self-proved wills are prepared by the testator and executed, attested, and made “self-proved” in the presence of two witnesses who make sworn statements before an officer authorized to administer oaths.
This process can be performed at any time after the will is written by the testator. No witness testimony is then required when the will is offered for probate in the Michigan courts.

Formal wills

Formal wills are one of the most common types prepared by will attorneys.
The wills must be in writing and signed by the testator or in the testator’s name by another person in his/her presence and guided by his/her direction.
To be legally enforceable, the will needs to be endorsed by the signatures of at least two individuals within a reasonable timeframe of witnessing the signing of the will.

Holographic wills

Michigan recognizes holographic wills but some states do not.
A holographic will is written by hand by the testator. It does not need to be witnessed but it must be dated and signed by the testator and completed in their normal and recognizable handwriting.
The main drawback of holographic wills is the possibility of forgery, which can lead to contests.

Mutual and joint wills

Mutual wills and joint wills are often used by married couples or those in a common-law relationship.
With mutual wills, two or more wills are reciprocally binding. This means that after the death of a spouse, the surviving spouse must dispose of his or her property according to the terms of the agreement made with the deceased.
This is an effective way to ensure, for instance, that property is passed to the children of a marriage rather than to a widow or widower’s spouse in the case of remarriage.
Joint wills are single documents executed by more than one person, such as a married couple. They effectively merge individual wills into a single, combined last will and testament.
Joint will usually state that after one spouse has died, the couple’s property will be left to the surviving spouse in its entirety and, after the surviving spouse dies, any remaining property is left to the couple’s children.

Pour-over wills

A pour-over will is prepared in connection with a trust (see below for information on trusts).
A trust that you have already created can be funded after your death through the provisions of a pour-over will.

Get started with a simple and affordable will

At The Estate Planning Law Firm, PLLC, we believe that protecting the future of loved ones should not be a difficult, stressful, or expensive process.
That’s why we provide you with the opportunity to create a legally binding will quickly and cost-effectively without the fuss.

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