The common law approach is to require strict compliance with the formalities of the Wills Act; Otherwise, it is not a valid will and will not be admitted to the estate. These strict requirements were purportedly intended to prevent fraud and to impress upon the testator the seriousness of signing a will. However, some jurisdictions, such as Pennsylvania, do not require the testator to sign the will, and yet there is no evidence that probate procedures in Pennsylvania are more fraudulent than in other jurisdictions that require certification. In fact, the transfer of property through non-hereditary instruments does not require any testimony in any jurisdiction, and yet all non-heritable instruments require signatures. Witnesses are not even required to sign a contract, although the legal standards for contractual capacity are higher than for capacity to testify. In most states, it is not necessary for the testator to sign (sign his signature) at the end of the will. The signature can appear anywhere, provided that it was intended by the testator as his signature. See, for example, Potter v. Richardson, 230 pp.2d 672 (Mo. 1952); Carroll Estate, 548 N.E.2d 650 (fig. 1989). Each requirement has other requirements in that it must be carried out in a certain way, especially signing and certification.
If a testator omits a provision in their will, it usually cannot be added post-mortem (after death) because a will cannot be reformed or revised after the testator`s death. [In the next chapter, we will consider when extrinsic (external) evidence is admissible; however, this is used to clarify ambiguities, not to add new terms to the will.] Any New Yorker with questions about wills or other estate planning documents should contact an experienced estate planning attorney for advice and guidance. A properly executed will has 3 basic requirements: New York law also provides for the preparation of oral (nuncupative) or handwritten (holographic) wills valid in very limited circumstances. The will must be made in writing. Oral wills — also known as nuncupative wills — are not allowed in most states, even if the testator is videotaped, although videotape can provide evidence of the testator`s intent and mental capacity or explain the distribution of gifts to relatives. In states where oral wills are recognized, strict requirements help reduce fraud, such as the prospect of imminent death if the testator has not had time to sign a traditional will. Strong evidence must support the contents of the will, as an oral will would be an easy target for fraud. On the date indicated below, MICHAEL JOSEPH JACKSON declared to us, the undersigned, that the previous document, consisting of five (5) pages, including the page signed by us as witnesses, was his will and asked us to testify as witnesses.
He then signed this testament in our presence, with all of us present at the same time. At His request, we now sign ourselves as witnesses in His presence and in this together. See, e.g., Estate of Bullock, 140 Cal. App. 2d 944 (1956); Tempo v. Richmond, 343 S.E.2d 59 (ca. 1986). A common change to the list of requirements above is that the testator is “in good health” and able to execute a valid will. A witness is usually deemed incapable of serving as a witness in the will if he or she is also an interested witness. An interested witness is someone who is favored by his will. At common law, the will was rejected in these cases.
Today, most jurisdictions have “purification laws” that erase the gift to the interested witness so that the will is not rejected. Ultimately, the testator is responsible for ensuring that the will accurately reflects his or her intentions. This is crucial, because the testator dies once; There is usually no way to resolve issues with the will. The courts will not intervene to rewrite someone`s will. The will is the most basic and well-known legal document with the power to transfer ownership of the writer`s real estate and personal property to the persons or organizations of his choice upon his death. However, it is very important that anyone who wishes to write and execute a valid person does so in accordance with the applicable state law to ensure that their conditions are enforced after the death of the testator, the person who drafts the will. Article 2-505 of the Uniform Code of Estates (UPC) allows an interested witness to make a will, because the interested witness is often a family member testifying to a homemade will, and it would therefore be difficult to retain his gift. The UPC commentary argues that if an interested witness accepts a large gift in suspicious circumstances, the gift may be declared invalid due to undue influence or fraud, and that in most cases of undue influence or actual fraud, the Conniver takes care to use altruistic witnesses to secure his gift under the will. Executing a valid will means doing whatever is necessary to comply with the requirements of the law – often referred to as the formalities of wills law – so that it has the desired effect.