Although most Wills are typed, formal documents signed in an attorney’s office, other forms of Wills are also accepted as legal declarations of your last wishes.
The Video Will
A Video Will can be made simply by sitting in front of a video camera and stating your wishes for your estate. Typically, Video Wills are used in conjunction with a written Will if a contest to the Will is expected. Currently, Video Wills alone are not recognized by state probate courts. A Video Will can demonstrate competency and clear intent in bequests to your heirs.
This Will is created by merely telling someone your wishes in the presence of witnesses. These types of Wills are not readily recognized by many states, and those that do recognize them, do so in special circumstances defined by strict rules. A deathbed declaration would be considered an Oral Will. Additionally, the state probate court may limit the total amount of assets you can bequeath in an Oral Will.
Provided that a Handwritten Will is signed and dated, many states recognize Handwritten Wills, even without witnesses. Handwritten Wills can be misinterpreted if your hand writing isn’t legible or your handwriting may be altered.
You may have heard some buzz about the Electronic Will, but this is currently only recognized in Nevada and there are some issues as to how the Will can be validated in the event of a challenge. An Electronic Will can be stored online, but this is a dangerous practice due to the risk of computer hacking.
Most estate planning attorneys recommend that you execute a typed Will and if you wish, to include a video recording also stating your intentions. If you have a Handwritten or Oral Will, you may wish to consider a typed Will in order to protect your estate for your beneficiaries.