What is a Last Will and Testament?
A Last Will and Testament is a document that is written while you are mentally capable, that expresses your wishes for after you have died. It deals with the distribution of your possessions (your “estate”) and makes key appointments like your Executor (the person who will carry out the instructions) and Guardians for children (if applicable).
A Last Will and Testament, or simply, a “Will”, has to be written. It can be handwritten or typed, and must be signed and dated at the end. If it is typed, the signing must be witnessed by two competent adults who have nothing to gain from the contents of the Will.
Some jurisdictions accept an entirely handwritten document as a Will even if it is not witnessed. This is a “holographic” Will. The law allows this in order to allow people in desperate situations to still prepare their Will even if they cannot find witnesses. It is generally not recommended as a Will writing approach for people under normal circumstances.
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After an individual’s death, his or her assets will be gathered, business affairs settled, debts paid, necessary tax returns filed, and assets distributed as the deceased individual directed in their will. This distribution of assets will be conducted on behalf of the decedent by a person acting in a fiduciary capacity, either as the executor (in some states called a personal representative) or as a trustee, depending upon how the decedent held his or her property.
The executor plays a very important role after the testator (the deceased will maker) dies as they have a number of duties including the task of tracking down assets, paying creditors, and making sure beneficiaries named in the will receive property to which they are entitled. Being an executor is not a simple role and should not be taken on without serious consideration. To help you gain an informed perspective on the duties of an executor, we have outlined some general information and frequently asked questions that all executors should consider.
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Do you want to know how to write a Will? Even though writing a Will is one of the most important things that everyone ought to do, most of us are very good at avoiding the issue. Most people put off the task of writing a Will, even though it is one of the most important things that we can do for our family.
The one thing that you should not be apprehensive about is that you do not know how to write a Will. There are plenty of resources out there to help you.
None of us really wants to think about our own demise, so putting off writing a Will seems like the easier option. Unfortunately, the reality is that if we don’t deal with the task of writing a Will, we leave our loved ones with huge potential difficulties.
Most people don’t make a Will – but you should not use this as an excuse! Writing a Will ought to be a very painless process and it can be quite affordable. Do not worry that you do not know how to write a Will. Continue reading →
As with any task that comes to mind on odd occasions in your life, writing your Will can seem overwhelming. So much so, that most people don’t do it. However, if you are coming to this page, something that probably happened in your life to make you realize that writing a Will is a vitally important task.
Sadly most people who feel an immediate need to prepare their Will just do a Google search for a local estate planning attorney. They make an appointment, pay several hundreds or thousands of dollars and live with the peace of mind that the task is finally off their To Do list. As long as they don’t need to update it.
However, with a little research, you will quickly understand that writing your Will needn’t be difficult, inconvenient or expensive
Here are ten quick steps to writing your Will; Continue reading →
The issue of Digital assets has come up again in the mainstream press. It was covered on the CBC in Canada and then was picked up by media outlets around the World. The Washington post ran with the headline
Her dying husband left her the house and the car, but he forgot the Apple password
The Daily Mail in the UK also ran the story with the headline “Widow who wanted her dead husband’s Apple ID so she could play games on their iPad is refused and told to get a COURT order instead”. The Sydney Morning Herald also alerted its readers. Google news is claiming 19,000 separate news articles about Peggy Bush, the 72 year old Canadian widow who simply wanted to play some games on the family iPad. The card game stopped working so she wanted to update it. To do this, she needed her late husband’s Apple ID password.
The best option that Apple gave her was to create a new Apple ID, but this would mean re-purchasing all of the games that had already been purchased by her husband. There was no way of transferring the games from one Apple ID account to another.
Apple suggested that they would only be able to release the User ID and password of the account with a court order. The general reaction was that this was a little unsympathetic to the situation; all of Peggy’s late husband’s assets had been successfully transferred, and nobody, including banks and insurance companies, had required a court order to do this. Continue reading →