A Brief Introduction About the Last Will and Testament Form
What is a last will and testament? The last will and testament is a legal document used by the testator, a person making the will, to distribute his or her assets according to their last wish.
How to find last will and testament online? To find the last will and testament, you need to search with the legal name of the deceased and the County probate records, county probate court, county probate dockets, or county court records. You can get a last will and testament form online.
How to write a last will and testament? When it comes to a living will vs. last will, it is important to understand the difference between the two. In the case of the last will, the distribution of assets of the testator will take place according to their last wishes. In case of a living will, however, mentions the wishes of the patient should he or she be in a vegetative state and unable to communicate their wishes.
Who Takes the Last Will and Testament Form? – People Involved
The last will and testament form are used by the testator or maker of the will to prepare a last will and testament. The people involved in the will would be the witnesses apart from the testator who is making the will to ensure the smooth distribution of his or her assets in accordance with his or her wishes after their death.
Though the beneficiaries are mentioned in the will, they have no say as far as their share of the assets of the testator is concerned. The testator names an executor in the will who will ensure that the will is probated and the assets are transferred to the right beneficiaries. This agreement ensures that there is no dispute between the beneficiaries.
Purpose of the Last Will and Testament Form – Why Do You Need It?
A last will and testament are required when you want to ensure that your assets are shared according to the instructions given in the will. You can find a sample last will and testament online, fill up a last will and testament form and create your will.
If you die intestate, that is without a will, then the laws of succession will come into effect, and your estate will be distributed equally among all your heirs. There might be some beneficiaries that you might not want to bequeath anything, but if you don’t have a registered will, then they will benefit from your estate. Apart from this, a major problem of not having a will is there would be disputes among the beneficiaries.
There are different last will and testament examples available online; all you need to do is choose the one that best captures your intentions with respect to the distribution of your assets post your demise.
After you choose the right last will and testament form, it is important first to determine the assets which are to be distributed. A comprehensive asset list needs to be prepared and along with that the list of successors who will be the beneficiaries and the share of each successor.
Your last will and testament will be a legal document and will ensure the desired distribution of your assets.
Contents of the Last Will and Testament Form – Inclusions
The last will and testament form are used to create a will, and there are a lot of different last will and testament forms available online, and you can find one that serves your purpose. Once the form has been selected, go online to find the last will and testament sample and prepare your will.
The following are the contents of a valid will:
- The effective date of the will: The day the will was made
- Details of the testator: The most important information in any will would be the name and address of the testator, as it is the testator who is making the will
- Revocation clause: The will must revoke or officially cancel all previous codicils (modifications to earlier wills) and testamentary dispositions. This would mean that this is the latest will of the testator and that the distribution of assets should take place in accordance with the instructions mentioned here.
- Appointment of executors: An important aspect of any will would be the appointment of executors. A minimum of two executors should be appointed as the other could take over if the originally appointed executor dies. It is the executor’s duty to administer the estate of the deceased person and carry out the wishes of the deceased
- List of legacies: The assets of the testator, which are to be distributed among the beneficiaries, need to be listed in detail. The movable properties of the testator, like cash, valuables, and so on, come under this section. The will needs to mention the share of each beneficiary here.
- List of devices: The immovable properties of the testator need to be mentioned in this section. The location of the properties and the name of the beneficiary will be stated here.
[Also Read: Codicil to Will]
How to Draft the Last Will and Testament Form?
Points to Consider While Preparing the Agreement
The last will and testament form are used to draft a last will and testament. You can get a free last will and testament sample online and use that as a reference document.
While drafting a last will and testament, the following points need to be kept in mind:
- Name of the testator: It is important to have the name of the testator on the last will and testament as he is the maker of the will and wishes to distribute his assets after his death in a certain manner. The address of the testator also needs to be included
- Revocation clause: This clause essentially states that this is the final will, and all previous wills or codicils stand revoked or canceled.
- Executor: The testator needs to appoint an executor who will ensure that the assets of the testator are distributed according to the wishes of the testator. It is advisable to appoint two or more executors to ensure that in the event one dies, the other will carry out the instructions of the testator
- Date of the will: The date on which the will was prepared
- List of legacies: The list of movable properties
- List of devices: The list of immovable properties
- Residuary clause: The value of the estate remaining after distribution of all gifts finds a mention here
The last will and testament form are used by a testator to prepare a will. The testator needs to find out the costs involved in making a will and should negotiate with the lawyers to ensure that the minimal costs are incurred when the estate is transferred to the successors.
Benefits & Drawbacks of the Last Will and Testament Form
Testators use the last will and testament form in the preparation of a will. You can use templates available online, and by referring to free online samples, prepare the will.
Here are the benefits of having a last will and testament:
- Beneficiaries of choice: When you make a will, the assets you own will be distributed to the beneficiaries chosen by you. The shares of the respective beneficiaries will be clearly mentioned in the will, and there will be no dispute among them
- Assurance of execution of will: As a testator, appoints more than one executor to ensure that his/her last wishes are carried out post their death. As there is more than one executor, there is no fear of the will not be executed. The executor will follow the instructions of the testator
Here are the drawbacks of having a last will and testament:
- Probate: All wills are subject to probate and probate fees can be very high depending on the value of the estate and the state where the probate is being carried out. Besides, it takes months to sometimes years for the probate process to end, and the beneficiaries must wait until the probate process is complete.
What Happens In Case of Violation?
The last will and testament form need to be filled up when you want to draw up a will.
Once the form is filled up, an executor needs to be appointed to carry out the instructions of the deceased testator. The executor has numerous responsibilities like matching the assets with the list provided by the testator, discharging the financial liabilities, and filing the income tax returns.
When the executor fails to execute the will as per the wishes of the testator, he or she may be removed by a petition filed by the beneficiary. If there is substantial evidence to prove that the executor did not intentionally disclose all the assets, follow the will as instructed, or maintain proper records, the court can remove the executor and appoint a new one.
The court could hold the executor personally liable for the violation of the instructions given in the will. For instance, if there is a failure to pay the estate duty, then he or she will have to pay any penal interest on the estate duty.
The beneficiary is eligible to sue the executor if it is proved that the executor had sold, stolen, or, in some way, mismanaged the property of the deceased.
The penalty for the violation will be in accordance with the laws of the state where the will was registered.
A testator prepares the will with a certain objective in mind. He or she wishes to distribute the assets accumulated over a lifetime to beneficiaries whom they find worthy.
A last will and testament form is extremely helpful if you are not aware of how a will is made(1). There are diverse examples of wills online, which could help you decide which one you need.
Before trying to draft a will either by yourself or engaging a legal professional, it is important to prepare a comprehensive list of assets that you wish to distribute among the chosen legal heirs.
As a testator, you need to ensure that you appoint more than one executor. This will be helpful if the original executor dies. It is necessary to choose the right person or institution as an executor as you would like your last wishes carried out as instructed by you.
A well-drafted will ensure that there is a smooth transfer of assets to your beneficiaries.