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Understanding Wills And Probates

Aug 17, 2007
Many believe mistakenly that only affluent individuals should be concerned with leaving wills. If you care for your family and dependents, leaving your will or testament shall ensure that theyll be taken care of even after your death. Whatever money, assets and benefits you will leave behind shall go directly to the persons you care for the most.

1. What is a will?

A will is a signed written document that contains directives from the testator or testatrix regarding the disposition of his estate or possessions. The executor of the will, designated by the creator of the will, shall be the one responsible of ensuring that all terms and conditions of the testament are complied with.

2. What if you dont leave a will?

Bad things will mostly happen if you delay on making a will. No one can predict when death will come, so its better to prepare a will beforehand. If you dont, any of the following situations may happen:

Division of your property will depend on the decision of the government, and may be subjected to probate;

Your children may be given to foster care, if no legal guardian has been appointed and no relative is willing to take responsibility for them;

Any seriously ill dependent you have may not be given enough financial aid to fund for medical expenses

3. What is dying intestate and what does it mean?

When a person is said to die intestate, his property shall be divided in accordance to the law. This can happen in your case, not only when you havent made a will, but also when probate has been denied for your will, or your will didnt provide COMPLETE details about the distribution of your property. As a lot of complications can arise from dying intestate, its entirely crucial for you not only to make a will, but to also do so properly.

4. What is a valid will?

The will must be in writing its very rare nowadays for a court to accept a verbal will;

You must be of legal age if not, you must have proper legal counsel while creating your will;

You must be of sound mind the validity of your will can be challenged if anyone deems youre mentally, emotionally, or psychologically incapable of making sensible judgments about the distribution of your property;

Signatures You must affix your signatures on the proper places, and in the presence of two valid witnesses;

Witnesses There must be two witnesses for a will to become valid; anyone who stands to gain from your will cannot qualify as a witness; lastly, they must affix their signature in your presence.

5. What must a will contain?

While there is no prescribed format for you to adhere to when making a will, you must however make sure that your testament contains the following information:

Personal Details This includes but is not limited to your name and present address

Revoking of Previous Wills If you had made any will or codicil previously, your new one must include a statement declaring all previously made wills or codicils are now null and void;

Appointment of Executor/s You must appoint certain individuals to become executors of your will; choose those whom you deem utterly trustworthy because theyll be given total authority over the distribution of your estate upon your death;

Distribution of Estate Details about the distribution of the estate must be as specific as possible; Residuary Clause This section will ensure that distribution, in the case you have overlooked any part of your estate, will still be in order;

Signatures Yours and the witnesses signatures are necessary to make the will valid.

6. What is a probate?

Probate is a legal procedure that sometimes occur for proper distribution of the estate of a deceased individual; the probate court will then be given all rights to divide the estate as it deems fit. It is essential to probate the estate when the will contains any extraordinary condition; any will that doesnt give the deceased individuals spouse any rights or properties on the estate is a good example of a case where its necessary to probate the estate. Probate is a very costly process that can last as long as a year, or even more. To avoid your will being subjected to the decision of the probate court, you can opt to make a living trust instead. For the best results, always consult your lawyer before making any decisions about your will.
About the Author
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