Last Will and Testament

Last will and testaments are legal documents that individuals use to manage and control the distribution of estates and guarantee the protection of loved ones after their passing. The record serves as a guide for the bereaved individuals on handling affairs regarding the person who passed, including instructions about their funeral setup and inheritance discussions. last-will-and-testament

Download the Last Will and Testament Infographic

Last Will and Testament Download

Table of Content

Last Will and Testament Definition & Meaning

A last will and testament is a document that details what happens to the property and assets of a testator upon their death.

The term is commonly interchangeable with a will, with the last will and testament being the most recent version of the document.

What Is a Last Will and Testament?

A last will and testament is a legal document to communicate an individual’s final wishes that pertains to the assets and dependents of the person writing the will or the testator to a probate court of law. It serves as an outline for the distribution of wealth and possessions, whether the testator gives it to their immediate family or a representative, a charity group as a donation, or what happens to the things they are responsible for, including custody of financial accounts and interests and custody of dependents.

10 Types of Last Will and Testament

Class Last Will and Testament

A class last will and testament is a document containing information about the final wishes of individuals from a graduating class or a senior batch of high school from an educational institution. It details statements of various students, faculty, and staff members, dedicating their traits or belongings to their underclassmen and friends. The class’s last will and testament is a form of passing down helpful and valuable information to individuals and a sign of the class that they are ready to leap into a new chapter of their lives.

class-last-will-and-testament

Worksheet Last Will and Testament

A worksheet last will and testament represents a blank format of the will document that individuals can use to draft the actual papers that the individual and witnesses sign that results in a final will and testament. This serves as the first step to creating the document, allowing the testator to discuss it with their family and have the insights and advice of an attorney on the contents. This allows the testator and the attorney to make revisions after several reviews before printing and signing the final will and testament document.

worksheet-last-will-and-testament

Joint Last Will and Testament

A joint last will and testament provide a disposition regarding assets, liabilities, and finances of two individuals, usually between spouses, detailing that the other party receives their possessions when one dies. Creating this document is a common scenario wherein a couple decides to leave everything to their surviving partner upon the death of the other, and upon the death of the surviving spouse, possessions pass directly to the couple’s children. This last will and testament ensure that the parties’ wishes follow through after their deaths.

joint-last-will-and-testament

Senior Last Will and Testament

A senior last will and testament is a document many senior students perform as an annual tradition for graduating classes from universities, colleges, schools, and academies. These graduating individuals have the opportunity to write statements as dedications to representing memories and objects for their teachers, classmates, and other individuals they spend time with during their years studying. The document serves as their farewell letter to the network of people they want to remember, showing their appreciation towards these individuals.

senior-last-will-and-testament

Maine Last Will and Testament

A Maine last will and testament is a document developed in the state of Maine, with a testator having the ability to construct in writing how to process the transfer or distribution of their property, assets, and other belongings to their beneficiaries after their death. This document helps the testator plan for the allocation of real estate, property, insurance policies, financial assets, digital assets, fiduciary accounts, and on-hand cash. The document becomes valid with the signature of the testator and two other witnesses, with the option to get notary services.

maine-last-will-and-testament

Last Will and Testament Form

The last will and testament form details how an individual wants their assets and property to distribute and address various matters regarding the testator’s wishes after death. The document contains sworn statements on the processes and procedures of allocating their assets and properties, giving the final document to the immediate beneficiaries and the testator’s attorney. For the document to be binding and legal, there must be two disinterested witnesses to sign the document, along with the testator.

last-will-and-testament-form

Basic Last Will and Testament

The basic last will and testament is a document that outlines the property and other affairs of the individual after their passing, choosing to leave it to charitable organizations, government offices or firms, and other bequests. The record must have witnesses or executors that are old enough under the court of law, meaning that these individuals must be over 18 years of age. In cases that an individual cannot produce this document, the state laws define who receives the assets and properties and the person responsible for caring for the testator’s children.

basic-last-will-and-testament

Sample Last Will and Testament

A sample last will and testament is a blank document that individuals can use to create their last will and testament, filling in the necessary information before reproducing the document for signatures and notary. Using a sample document allows a person to become familiar with the essential components of the last will and testament, including the beneficiaries, witnesses, testator, and executor. Develop a comprehensive document with the help of an attorney while filling out the sample form for the last will and testament.

sample-last-will-and-testament

Simple Last Will and Testament

Simple last will and testament documents are legally binding and stipulate a person’s assets like real estate, investments, and personal property, with the process of distributing these upon their death. After an individual completes and signs the document in the presence of two witnesses and the option of having the document notarized, the next step is to share the will with the beneficiaries. The contents of the last and will testament vary, and the testator must incorporate the assets and properties.

simple-last-will-and-testament

Florida Last Will and Testament

Creating a Florida last will and testament requires an individual to develop a document that must be in writing by a competent person and does not require a standardized format or official terminologies. A comprehensive last will and testament document in Florida requires the testator to compose it in the presence of at least two witnesses. In the court of Florida, the testator does not need to notarize the document, and certain individuals can contest, amend or revoke using a codicil that provides instruction on how to modify the contents.

florida-last-will-and-testament

Last Will and Testament Uses, Purpose, Importance

Many individuals create last will and testaments with forgetting the document’s role and significance to their loved ones before and after their passing. The document enables the testator to prepare for the necessary arrangements in the case of their passing, following the list below for more information about the significance of last wills and testaments.

Saves Time and Money for the Bereaved

Most estates require processing in probate courts to start legal processes for asset distributions through a last will and testament document. Without a valid will, the court assigns an administrator over the deceased’s estates which costs time and money for the loved ones. A will enables a streamlining of the court process, selecting the person to handle the estates, making it more manageable for beneficiaries.

Determines Who Will Manage the Estates

As per the first bullet point, it is critical to identify the person to manage the estates. Writing the will enables a person as a testator to assign an executor of the will to handle and address all the affairs of the deceased. Identifying the executor is vital since they are responsible for closing bank accounts or liquidating assets for the testator.

Decides the Beneficiaries

As a testator, the individual has the right to name individuals to receive specific estates or assets and to identify beneficiaries of any property not in the will, known as residuary. A will also allow the testator to deny a person or persons with properties and assets or to control the benefits that a person receives. The executor is responsible for executing the directives of the distribution.

Identify Who Will Care for Minor Children

If the testator is a parent, they can identify a guardian to care for their minor children. A surviving parent usually takes legal custody and responsibility over the child or children when their spouse dies. If both parents pass, a will becomes vital in identifying a guardian to take care of the children, providing for their daily needs.

Provide Instructions for Digital Assets

Digital assets refer to online accounts like social media networks and services, telecommunication carriers, and digital files or property, including videos, photos, audios, documents, etc. A will identifies a digital executor to manage the listed assets after the passing of a testator. The testator lists instructions on how the executor handles the accounts and files on their behalf.

What’s in a Last Will and Testament? Parts?

Title

The title is the initial part of any last will and testament document. The title contains the words last will and testament plus the name of the individual writing the document.

Declaration

The declaration section contains the testator’s full name and residential address, along with a statement that declares the individual is of legal age, creating the will in sound mind and body. The testator must state that previous wills are null and void, with the testator writing that they are not under duress or undue influence when writing the last will and testament.

Executor’s Identification

The next section of a last will and testament identifies the executor, listing their full name and residential address, responsible for executing the wishes and contents of the will. The executor must have general knowledge about how the testator will divide his assets and properties.

Guardian’s Identification for Minor Child

There are instances where the testator has a minor child after their passing, requiring them to identify a guardian to care for the child. The section states the full name of the guardian, and residential address, including the responsibilities they have for the child.

Beneficiaries

This section of the last will and testament lists the full and legal names of beneficiaries. There must be no doubt in a beneficiary’s identity, naming alternative beneficiaries in the case of simultaneous passing.

Assets

This section must distinguish between assigned assets and those that are not upon the passing of a testator. Unassigned assets are those properties that do not have a specified beneficiary, including joint ownership, joint tenancy on properties, trusts, and bank accounts.

Bequests

Bequests are the specifics that the testator indicates in the document, detailing how they want the division of their estates to happen among various beneficiaries. This section is the most vital part of a last will and testament.

Funeral Arrangements

Many testators indicate a section that details funeral arrangements to ensure the implementation of their wishes regarding their remains. It identifies whether the testator will want cremation, burial, or disposal of other means.

Signatures

The final section of the last will and testament contains the testator’s signature and the signatures of at least two witnesses when writing the document. The date and location of where the testator writes the will must be present in the document, with the witnesses’ full names also available.

what’s-in-a-last-will-and-testament-parts-788x950

How to Design a Last Will and Testament

1. Determine the Last Will and Testament Size
2. Specify the Purpose of Creating the Last Will and Testament
3. Select the Last Will and Testament Templates
4. Identify the Testator, Specifying Their Age and Mental Status
5. Assign an Executor
6. Specify the Guardian for Minor Children
7. Select the Beneficiaries
8. Indicate Funeral Arrangements
9. Sign the Document

how-to-design-a-last-will-and-testament-788x1151

Last Will and Testament Vs. Living Will

The last will and testament is a legal document that allows a testator or the person creating the document to assign beneficiaries to inherit their assets and properties after their passing.

A living will, on the other hand, outlines an individual’s preferences regarding possible healthcare treatments in the case they are unable to communicate their wishes to health practitioners or loved ones.

What’s The Difference Between a Last Will And Testament, Living Trust, or Power of Attorney?

A last will and testament is a document that controls property and assets that is directly under the control of the individual or the testator.

A living trust is a document that controls the assets and properties present in the trust but does not allow the allocation of these assets and properties to individuals, not in the document.

A power of attorney is a document that protects an individual by assigning an attorney-in-fact to make financial, legal, business, and healthcare decisions on behalf of a living person without the capacity to do so themselves.

Last Will and Testament Sizes

The last will and testament are documents that follow standardized paper sizes and dimensions to ensure that it is legally enforceable. Whether an individual wants to use a product template, generic document, or a DIY will, there are last will and testament sizes that serve as guides.

  • Letter (8.5 x 11)
  • Legal (8.5 x 14)
  • A4 (8.3 × 11.7)Last Will and Testament Sizes

Last Will and Testament Ideas & Examples

The last will and testament allow individuals to relay their wishes and desires about matters surrounding their property, assets, children, and other beneficiaries. You can refer to last will and testament ideas and examples at any time.

  • Last Will And Testament Ideas and Examples
  • Maine Last Will And Testament Ideas and Examples
  • Louisiana Last Will And Testament Ideas and Examples
  • Kentucky Last Will And Testament Ideas and Examples
  • Kansas Last Will And Testament Ideas and Examples
  • Iowa Last Will And Testament Ideas and Examples
  • Indiana Last Will And Testament Ideas and Examples
  • Illinois Last Will And Testament Ideas and Examples
  • Idaho Last Will And Testament Ideas and Examples
  • Hawaii Last Will And Testament Ideas and Examples
  • Georgia Last Will And Testament Ideas and Examples

FAQs

What are the rules for a last will and testament?

The rules for creating a last will and testament include having the document in writing without unnecessary additions like clipart images, executing language or dialect the testator recognizes, and must follow the allowable rules of the court.

What is included in a last will and testament?

The last will and testament must incorporate a title, declaration, executor and guardian identification, beneficiaries, assets, bequests, funeral arrangements, and signatures.

Why do you need a last will and testament?

A person needs a last will and testament to ensure that their assets and properties go to the right individuals and determine people to care for their children.

What is the purpose of a last will and testament?

The purpose of having a last will and testament is to ensure that there is an assigned person as an executor of his will, indicating beneficiaries and guardians for bereaved children.

How do you make a last will and testament?

To prepare a last will and testament, identify the testator, including their full name and address, assign an executor and guardian, identify beneficiaries, indicate funeral arrangements, and affix signatures.

What is the most important part of a last will and testament?

The most vital component of a last will and testament are bequests.

What are the elements of a last will and testament?

The elements of a last will and testament include the testator, executors, bequests, beneficiaries, the residuary estate, foreign assets, children, and guardians.

What voids a last will and testament?

Improperly witnessed and signed last will and testament is invalid and unenforceable.

How do last will and testament work?

An individual writes a last will and testament while still alive, and then carrying out the document is only possible once an individual dies.

Can you override a last will and testament?

There are instances where individuals can override a last will and testament when they have a codicil document.