Q: What Makes a Will Legal?


Q: What makes a Will legal?

A: North Carolina allows for three kinds of Wills and what makes each legal varies based on the type.

The basic requirements for each type are:

  • Attested: written, signed, and witnessed

  • Holographic: handwritten and signed/subscribed, found after death in a place of "safekeeping"

  • Nuncupative: spoken aloud during illness/injury that results in death to at least two witnesses who know and understand what they are being told

For full details (and yes, there are more details), check out North Carolina General Statutes, Chapter 31.

If you're working with an estate planning attorney - you'll be getting an Attested Will. But why would you do that when you could DIY one of the others?

Simplicity. Yes, really. While the Holographic and Nuncupative Will options may seem simpler to make, when it comes time for the Court to be involved (after death), the process becomes much more complicated than it usually is with an Attested Will.

To accept a Holographic Will, the Court will require the testimony of three witnesses regarding the validity of the handwriting and at least one witness regarding where and when the Will was found.

To accept a Nuncupative Will, first, the Court requires proof that advance notice has been given to specific people allowing them time to oppose/object to the Will (which can sometimes require notice being published in the newspaper). Second, the Court will only accept the Will if no more than six months have passed since it was made/spoken. And third, the Court will require the testimony of the two witnesses it was spoken to, and additional testimony from someone to validate the fact that it was made/spoken during the last illness/injury that resulted in the maker's death.

Compare this to a properly prepared and executed Attested Will: no witness testimony needed, no advance notice required. More details can be found in North Carolina General Statutes, Chapter 28A.

Are you ready to get started with your own Attested Will? Want to learn more? Contact me. Still thinking it over? Check out the Related Posts below.