Under the Will Law, any written document signed by a person leaving the estate and properties to specifically entities or named persons, which can be the entire estate or part of it, creation of trusts for management which will be entrusted with the future distribution of a portion or all of the estate, specific gifts etc. There is an executor normally mentioned in the wills or a possible substitute executor to manage the distribution of the estate, mentioned in the will. The Will might also have burial or funeral instructions which are to be followed in the exact way that is mentioned. For minor children the Will can nominate guardians and also writes down other instructions as to the educational details and upbringing style of the child or children. The testator is the person who has made the will and has signed it, and only then the Will is to be considered valid. The Will must also be dated, and there should at least be two people who are to act as witnesses to the Will. Some states require three witnesses to consider the will as valid.
In some states, but not all, a Will totally in the handwriting of the testator, signed and dated (a “holographic will”) but without witnesses, is valid. At the time of the death of the testator (will writer), If the will (also called a Last Will and Testament) is still in force, the will must be probated (approved by the court, managed and distributed by the executor under court supervision) where there is a substantial estate and/or real estate. If unfortunately there is no named executor, or is unable or unwilling to serve, or even dead may be, an administrator will be appointed by the court. Any addition to a Will or a written amendment is called a “codicil” and must be dated, signed, and witnessed just as is a Will, and must refer to the original Will it amends. The will need not be probated if there is no estate, including the situation in which the assets have all been placed in a trust.