Types of Wills in Tennessee

You probably know what a will is and what it does. However, what you may not know is that there are different kinds of wills. Under Tennessee law, there are three different types of wills. Each one has its own requirements and restrictions. It is important to know what are the positives and negatives of each type of will. If you need help or advice drafting your will, be sure to contact an experienced Tennessee wills attorney.

The first type of will that we will discuss is known as a nuncupative will. This is the least common type of will because of the restrictions under the law. Nuncupative wills are entirely oral and are given when the person making the will is in imminent peril and dies of that peril. In other words, for this type of will to be valid, the person must speak his or her wishes from the deathbed and must die shortly thereafter. Imminent peril can include sickness or trauma. In addition, the deathbed declaration must be heard (or witnessed) by two disinterested people, must be documented within 30 days after the declaration, and be submitted to probate within six months after the death. The value of the property cannot exceed $1,000 for a civilian and $10,000 for an active duty military member.

Obviously, there are a number of restrictions with this type of will. It would only apply in a limited set of circumstances. However, it can be an easy alternative for those without any other means in a time of dire circumstances.

The second type of will is what is known as a holographic will. This will is handwritten and signed by the person making the will. All of the material portions of the will, or what is known as the essence of the will, must be in the handwriting of the will maker. Although there is not a witness requirement for executing the will, the handwriting and signature must be proved by two disinterested people during the probate proceedings.

While this can be a quick and easy fix for those in a bind, there are some downsides to holographic wills. By creating a will, the burden of making it valid under the law is on the maker of the will. The person drafting the will must ensure that it meets the legal requirements for a valid holographic will.  Another potential downside is that the person making the will may inadvertently leave out certain assets or people from the will. Also the person may be unclear or contradictory in the instructions. Courts are left to determine any mistakes of the will’s content.

The third and most common type of will is the attested will. Attested wills are those that a Tennessee wills attorney can draft for you. Typically typewritten, the attested will must be signed by the person making the will and witnessed by two people. These types of wills typically have a number of clauses setting forth a number of different aspects.

Attested wills can provide a number of benefits. Attested wills are often drafted by experienced attorneys who can tailor the document to your needs. Whether you are naming a potential guardian for your minor children or leaving a family heirloom to a loved one, attested wills provide the best possible means for you. In addition, an attested will drafted by an attorney can help you avoid any potential pitfalls as to the validity of the document in the probate process.

If you need a will, contact one of our Tennessee wills lawyers. We will be happy to help you and answer any questions that you may have related to your will.