CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 78.1% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
US English

What is a nuncupative will?

By Prachi Sinha

Reviewed by Vanessa Kintu

Fact checked by Russell Deeks

Nuncupative Will

Whether you have sizeable assets or a few thousand pounds in the bank, when you’ve passed away, you’ll want your legacy to be inherited by your rightful heirs. One of the most direct ways to plan your legacy and gifting is through drafting a will document. 

Sometimes, however, the distribution of a deceased person’s estate is addressed by way of an oral will – also known as a nuncupative will.

Commonly known as an oral or verbal will, a nuncupative will states the wishes of a dying person with regard to how they want their property to be distributed after their passing. While many categories of wills exist in law, the two broad types of wills are written and oral. 

A written will is an express agreement stating the wishes of a person who’s passed away, with respect to how they want their legacy to be carried on, and is signed by them. A written will is usually relied upon with respect to the distribution of a deceased person’s estate. If the deceased person has also executed a nuncupative will, the former will always override the latter.

Nuncupative will explained

There are certain requirements that must be met to determine whether an oral will is valid. 

Note that even if a nuncupative will does meet the standards outlined below, that does not fully confirm its acceptance across the globe. Moreover, nuncupative wills are rare in nature and are mostly not upheld in courts of law.

Features of a nuncupative will

While this is not an exhaustive list, these are typically the requirements for a nuncupative will to be considered valid in some state courts:

  • Emergency situation – The primary justification for executing a nuncupative will would be that the person’s life is in immediate danger or they are sick to a point that they cannot execute a written will. If the person survives the life-threatening situation that caused the need to execute a nuncupative will, it will be invalid thereafter.

    Nuncupative wills should be thought of as a last resort, a route that should be taken only when there’s absolutely nothing else someone can do to make clear their final wishes regarding the distribution of their estate and property.

  • Presence of witnesses – It is important that there are at least two witnesses to take a note of what is being communicated in the affected person’s oral will. This is to ensure that the specifics of the will are not being fabricated for the favour of any one person, and actually reflect the final wishes of the deceased.

    Some state laws require that three witnesses are in the room when the nuncupative will is being executed.

  • Conversion to written will – It is very important that once a nuncupative will has been executed, the witnesses ensure it’s captured exactly as it was communicated, in a written format.

    Ideally, a nuncupative will should be converted to a written will within a one-month timeframe, so as to present it in a court of law for further proceedings.

Latest video

Latest Articles

View all articles

Still looking for a broker you can trust?

Join the 610,000+ traders worldwide that chose to trade with

1. Create & verify your account 2. Make your first deposit 3. You’re all set. Start trading