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Last Will and Testament; What Does it Entail?

The last will is a legal document by a testator that states how their assets and possessions will be distributed. It also expresses their wish regarding custody or dependents and their accounts and interests management.

Generally, a will does not need to follow a specific form and language. However, it must disclose the testator's intent and make detailed dispositions of their property that come into effect after their death. Hence, a valid testament constitutes of the following essential elements:

  • The appointment of an executor.

  • A list of property or assets owned by the testator.

  • A provision that names a personal guardian for a minor and/or at least one provision providing for the allocation of the testator’s property or assets.

  • A statement from the testator, declaring the document as their will.

  • Usually, minors share treatment until they are of legal age.

  • A residual clause for distribution of remaining assets.

  • Testamentary capacity, it must state that the testator is of sound mind and is writing the will of their own accord.

It is crucial to have a will because it is termed “intestate” or not having a will at time of death, if a person dies without making a valid one. This means that the state becomes the estate's executor, decides how the property will be distributed, who receives the first payment, and even the guardianship arrangements. Therefore, making a will helps prevent or minimize family financial issues during the grieving period, prevent children from becoming wards of the state, and other serious preventable situations.

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