3 Kinds of Oklahoma Wills
By: Solid Serenity Legal Solutions
With the rapid spread of the Coronavirus across the U.S., we are getting an avalanche of calls about Oklahoma Estate Planning documents, and Wills especially.
Given the implications of safer-at-home and shelter-in-place orders throughout the country, many clients find that the traditional requirements of witnessing and notarizing these documents are hard to achieve. However, attorneys are essential workers and can help, safely, to get Wills in place at this time.
Keep in mind that having a Will does not allow your family to avoid the probate process, but it gives you the authority to say where you want your assets to go instead of allowing the government to make that decision for you.
If you are looking for a document to avoid the probate process, you will need a trust, and you will need to title your assets properly into the trust. Find out more about trusts here.
Should you need to put a Will in place during these uncertain times, here is a guide to 3 kinds of Oklahoma Wills to help you plan.
All Oklahoma Wills must be in writing to be valid. Other than Holographic Wills, which we will cover later, and Nuncupative Wills, which are so rare we won’t bother discussing them, valid Oklahoma Wills require:
- a signature by the person making the Will (testator) at the end, or someone in the testator’s presence by the testator’s directions
- signing in the presence of 2 witnesses, or with acknowledgement to the 2 witnesses that the testator signed the document
- testator must acknowledge to the witnesses that the document is the testator’s Will
- the 2 witnesses must sign the document at the end and in the testator’s presence
Unless a Will is made self-proving, as discussed below, the person submitting the Will for probate will have to call the 2 witnesses to testify to the valid execution of the Will.
(2) Self-Proving Will
The benefit of a self-proving Will is that witnesses do not need to be called to prove the Will is valid in probate court.
A self-proving Will has an acknowledgement by the testator and witnesses that:
- the document is the testator’s Will
- testator freely and voluntarily made the document
- testator declared to the witnesses that the document is testator’s Will
- testator is over 18
- testator is of sound mind
This acknowledgement by the witnesses and testator must be made in the presence of a notary.
(3) Holographic Wills
Holographic Wills are valid in Oklahoma. Holographic Wills must be:
- entirely in the hand of the testator
The benefit of a Holographic Will in the midst of a pandemic, is there are no legal requirements for witnesses and notaries.
As such, the Holographic Will is more susceptible to contests. However, it is better to have a Holographic Will in place than nothing at all.
Should you choose to write your own Will at this time, please remember that the basic rules of Will construction still apply.
That means, if you are looking to disinherit a child, you need to name and acknowledge that child and specifically state that you are disinheriting them. If you have put a child up for adoption, that child must be specifically disinherited as well.
If you have any questions about putting your Will or other estate plan into place, be sure to contact us.