A legal declaration that names one or more persons to manage one’s estate and provides for the transfer of one’s property at death, historically, of only one’s real property. Contrast: TESTAMENT.
A legal declaration that names one or more persons to manage one’s estate and provides for the transfer of one’s property at death, historically, of only one’s personal property. Now obsolete, as a Will now covers both real and personal property.
The aggregate of all property and interests in property owned by an individual.
Anything which may be the subject of ownership, such that its owner has the exclusive right to possess, to use, to exclude others from it, and to transfer it to another.
REAL PROPERTY (aka REALTY)
Property consisting of:
PERSONAL PROPERTY (aka PERSONALTY)
All property that is not real property, generally either tangible personal property (having physical presence, such as cars, clothing, furniture, books, jewelry, etc.) or intangible personal property (representing an ownership right, such as notes of indebtedness or securities, and including a contract interest in real property, such as a lease).
Literally, “one who makes a Will.”
A female testator.
instrument 1. A written document that defines rights, duties, entitlements, or liabilities, such as a contract, will, promissory note, or share certificate. At page 801.
document (as a noun) 1. Something tangible on which words, symbols, or marks are recorded. At page 498.
Black’s Law Dictionary 7th Edition, Bryan A. Garner, editor; West Group: St. Paul, MN, 1999:
In Washington, a Will is:
In Washington, the definition of a Will also includes that of a Codicil: A Will that modifies or partially revokes an existing earlier Will. RCW 11.02.005(9)
Query: What would a document be that said “I revoke all prior Wills of mine.”? If executed validly, it would appear to be a one sentence Will.
Probated Wills have included those written not only in ink but also in pencil, and not only on paper but also on a tractor’s fender, a petticoat, and an empty egg shell, and not necessarily in English or even a language understood by the Testator so long as he/she understood the Will’s provisions. Will made in a foreign language not understood by the Testator: Estate of Hille, 117 Wash. 205 (1921). See Atkinson, Handbook of the Law of Wills (2nd ed. 1953).
The document must be:
In Writing: The “in writing” requirement means what it says: Written, whether typewritten, handwritten, or printed. Unlike some other jurisdictions, Washington does not require a Will to be typewritten or printed; the mere fact that it is handwritten, even by another, will not invalidate it so long as it is “in writing” and “signed by the Testator.”
Signed by the Testator: A Will can be “signed by the Testator” in any of three ways:
A suitable “signature by proxy” might be in the following form at the end of the Will, where the name of the hypothetical Testator is George Washington and that of the proxy is John Adams:
I have signed the Testator’s name at his request and in his presence.
|Note that technically:
The document must not only be signed by its Testator but also be witnessed by two of more persons who:
The last three requirements (ie, a through c) can also be met by the witnesses’ signing an Affidavit, instead of the Will, at the Testator’s request and in the Testator’s presence.
While a person who subscribes his/her name to a Will is uniformly referred to as a “witness,” this description would appear to be misleading, and a more accurate name for such a person, in light of their actual responsibilities and duties, might be an “attestor.” All that an “attestor” is attesting is that the Testator has:
Besides the various statutory requirements for making a valid Will in Washington, those that are described above, there are a number of arcane, common law requirements that are often overlooked in determining the validity of a writing as a Will. Some of these are as follows:
This writing, although perhaps otherwise qualifying as a valid holographic Will in California, was intended as an example, not as the professor’s actual Will; therefore, no Will.
This writing, although perhaps otherwise qualifying as a valid holographic Will in California, was intended as a letter of instructions to prepare a Will, not as the client’s actual Will; therefore, no Will.
An example of non-compliance with a policy rule would be a gift that fails to satisfy the Rule Against Perpetuities.