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The Importance of Creating a Valid Will

Sue Ann Ma

Sue Ann Ma, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with over 20 years of experience, provides financial services to a diverse group of clients. In addition to running her own CPA firm and serving as an executive with major banking institutions, Sue Ann Ma is a registered Master of Certified Estate Planner (MCEP).

Planning what to do with your estate might seem like a daunting task, but it's one that, if neglected, could harshly impact the lives of the ones you love. It's never too early to develop a plan and begin preparing a will with a CEP or MCEP professional. Concrete, approved statutory or pour-over wills are honored throughout the United States, but other forms of wills are subject to increased scrutiny and may not even be recognized in certain states.

Sixteen states, for instance, do not recognize holographic wills, which are handwritten wills drafted without a witness, while others do but only under certain circumstances. Connecticut, Hawaii, Washington, and South Carolina accept holographic wills that were drafted in a state where they are permitted, while New York and Maryland only deem holographic wills valid if drafted by an active US Armed Forces member. Nuncupative wills, which are oral wills spoken in front of at least two witnesses, are invalid in many states and often contested in states where they are recognized.

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