Writing a Last Will and Testament

A will or testament is a legal document that outlines the intentions of a person with regards to his material possessions after their passing. Historically the will would deal with the real properties such as land and buildings whereas the testament would deal with their personal possessions. However, the two are used together in modern contexts and refer to the entirety of a person’s belongings. They are often used to detail inheritance processes and the distribution of wealth in a family after the passing of the testator. It details to whom the property and possessions go to, under which conditions as well as places specific people as the executor of the will, who are in charge of carrying out the requests within. Various legal service agencies such as property settlement lawyers offer services in the creation of a last will and testament as well as the execution of the will.

Specific terminology is used to identify various elements of the inheritance process in the event of the passing of a testator (the person who wrote the will). The individuals who stand to gain from the execution of a will are known as its beneficiaries and this is generally the descendants of the testator, although it does not necessarily need to be. The possessions and property of the testator is known as their estate and includes all of their assets and liabilities (those that are not cancelled upon death). The executor of the will is the party that is legally allowed and stated in the will to have the power to carry out the will of the testator including contacting the parties involved and holding any assets as required until they are to be passed to their heirs.

Wills are generally used by families and individuals with large financial assets they wish to pass along to their family in a way that does not cause conflict among the family. In addition to property, the will has the power to designate a legal guardian of any minor children in the custody of the testator at the time of passing. They are also used in instances where the testator has financial dependants and wish to secure their future in the event of their passing by ensuring that they continue to receive benefits from their estate. Wills can also be used to adjust the flow of inheritance from what it is normally based on the jurisdiction of the state as they tend to default to the closest blood relation regardless of any other factors, including estrangement. They may also favour a certain party over others on certain arbitrary bases which the testator may wish to avoid.

Due to the above-mentioned reasons, it is not vital to leave a last will and testament behind if there is no need or intention to alter the default flow of inheritance as determined by the state. However, if no heirs can be identified the property will generally fall to the custody of the state, along with any dependant children and dependants who do not have a familial relationship will not be recognised.




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