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54

Wills typically handle this by specifying a survivorship period. Such a clause may say, in effect, "I leave all my assets to my spouse, provided they survive me by at least 30 days, and otherwise to beneficiaries X,Y,Z." That way, if your spouse dies shortly after you, your assets go to X,Y,Z, rather than going to your spouse and then to their ...


10

In Civil law jurisdictions, the heir of a deceased person will generally inherit all the possessions, rights and obligations - this may include debts. So if a borrower passes away, the lender will typicall find out who is the heir, and ask them to pay. The heir will be required to pay, and the creditor can use the usual channels (reminders, collection ...


9

You can put conditions on bequests (subject to other laws that might require you to provide for children etc.), however, these must be antecedent to the gift: once a gift is given you can't call it back. Of course, you could set up a trust that owns the bequest with rules for when and how the beneficiaries can utilise them that effectively do what you ask. ...


8

(I am not your lawyer. I am not here to help you. If you are reading this because someone has died, please stop and instead read the Scottish Courts and Tribunals guide to dealing with a deceased's estate in Scotland, or contact a solicitor.) Yes, in general. Section 1 of the Wills Act 1963, which is in force in Scotland, specifies that "[a] will shall be ...


8

What can I do to prevent someone from leaving me something in their will? Nothing. Allowing other people to legally change someone's will defeats the purpose of a will: To express the writer's last wishes. (That is why the full title is a "Last Will & Testament"). Do I have to take responsibility for things left to me in a will or are there other ...


7

If a line in your will bequeaths something that you don't have the power to give (e.g. you bequeath something that you don't own at the time of your death), that line has no legal effect. If I died and left you the house at 10 Downing Street in London, for example, you wouldn't actually be getting it. If your will contains enough of those lines and/or ...


6

You don't give an exact jurisdiction, so Im going to give some examples from the US and the UK here (other jurisdictions may differ), but the answer to your question seems to be "yes, you can" in the US and UK. In the US, the process differs somewhat between states, but in general you need to file a written, signed (and notorized in some states) disclaimer ...


5

In most places I imagine the issue would go before a probate judge who would attempt to determine the validity of each presented will, and if both were valid, then they would attempt to reconcile the disparities to the best of their ability. Broadly speaking, the process would look like this (I'm using UK law as an example): You die An individual is chosen ...


5

It would be more common to leave a separate direction regarding the disposition of your body in a document other than your will, entrusted with your next of kin. This is because a dead person's body is usually disposed of in less than a week following death, but a determination that a will is valid and effective often has a minimum five day waiting period ...


5

Interesting question. I routinely write wills that authorize the executor to destroy property that has no significant economic or sentimental value, but I've never encountered a case where a testator or testatrix has directed that property be destroyed and I've never seen a reported case (or even a news report) in which that has happened. To the extent that ...


5

In general, no, if you make a will then you can revoke that will while ever you are still legally competent. Also, in general, this is a good thing. For your first example, you are ruling out all possibility of redemption - people change: a person who is a selfish a*$%^#@e in their 20s may be a kind, caring, dutiful and loving person in their 40s. For your ...


5

This is a close call, in the example that you suggest, because it won't have been executed with the proper formalities and it isn't clear that the content at a url would be fixed in its language at the time that the Will is executed. Subject to an exception for personal property memorandums (and a more subtle one for powers of appointment in trusts) you can'...


4

No. This is not a provision that the testator or testatrix (i.e. the person writing a will) may waive in advance. But, the slayer statute does not get invoked unless an interested person invokes it in a probate proceeding after a death, and if no interested party wishes to invoke it, the will would be given effect anyway (just as it would in a case where ...


4

Who owns a dead body? No one, in common law countries human remains are not property and therefore have no owner. Who is responsible for disposal? It varies by jurisdiction. For example, in NSW, Australia: When the deceased has appointed an executor in their will, it is the executor’s responsibility to organise the funeral. The executor ... is ...


4

Legalese is not required You can and should write a will in plain English. However, you need to ensure that your simple wishes can: Actually be understood, Actually be implemented, Don't have unintended consequences, Cover all bases. Use a lawyer I suggest that you write your simple wishes out as you have done and take them to a lawyer. A good lawyer ...


4

Can anyone point towards specific cases where someone with a similar will has run into major problems because they wrote a simple will instead of the complex legalese one? Like every case in every Trusts and Estates textbook. You wife? Everything goes to her? So when you divorce and remarry does your stuff go to wife A or to wife B? Your child? What ...


4

In common law jurisdictions, you generally cannot inherent a debt. Details vary by jurisdiction, I will use NSW, Australia as an example: Initial ownership on death Liabilities Any joint liabilities (loans, credit cards etc) automatically pass to the survivor(s). Individual liabilities are "owned" by the estate Personal Property Any joint assets such ...


4

There are no general legal impediments. Possession of human bones is legal (and selling them is an actual business), and processing bodies into cleaned bones is also a legal business. The main legal limits are on the folks who process the corpse, who have to comply with various enviromental laws pertaining to biohazardous material. You can will your bones, ...


4

OK, I talked to a lawyer (in Massachusetts) and these are the answers I got. One can draft a confidential exclusion letter to state wishes regarding excluding certain people from being guardians. In the letter you can explain in detail why you think somebody is unfit to be a guardian. Execute this document as you do for your will and tell your family that ...


4

Under US copyright law, all works are protected by copyright except for US Government works. The concept of "public domain" is not legally well-defined, and is used colloquially to refer to government works, works whose protection has expired, works available to all, and works not copyrightable (such as scientific laws or old software). Under older copyright ...


4

IANAL. I am not your lawyer. Assuming that they bought the house together, and are both on the title, your step-father would, as a surviving owner, take sole possession of the house (and it wound not enter your mother's estate). If she bought the house before they married and he moved in, and he is not on the title, it would theoretically enter her estate, ...


4

There is not uniformity of law on this question, which is usually decided in the period after a death, but before a will is admitted to probate or an executor is appointed (typically in three to five days). As a result, the legal jurisdiction (usually a country or sub-national state or autonomous region) involved matters a great deal. For example, Italy ...


4

When a person dies intestate, California law (or the law of any other state) does not allow a presumed heir to unilaterally legally take over the estate, or part of the estate. This most likely involves a court procedure to decide who gets what. However, if all parties agree, it would be possible for one or more heirs to occupy the house without them owning ...


4

Signing a will, as with any other document, is intended to represent a voluntary choice to assent to the document. In the case of a will, a valid signature by the testator expresses the testator's intent that his or her estate be governed by the provisions of the will. Signing using the hand of an unconscious testator (or an unwilling one) would be an act ...


4

This will depend on the exact wording of the will. If the will is well-drawn, it will provide alternative recipients in case the primary recipient of a bequest dies before the testator (will-maker) does. But as a general rule, if A makes a will leaving particular property to B, but B dies before A does, that bequest is void. If the will specifies an ...


3

Right of survivorship means that if one of the coowners dies, the other person immediately gets the ownership without having to go to probate. If a ownership is without the "right of survivorship", then the portion owned by the deceased falls to the estate and must be handled via the will or the probate. For example, if two non-related people own property in ...


3

In the US, when a person has unpaid debts and dies, those debts are to be paid from any assets of the estate (as in, any assets). The executor has the responsibility to use those assets to pay the debts. Presumably the executor did that, and there are no co-signed accounts or anything like that, so your mother isn't responsible for these debts in some ...


3

In modern usage, it is far better to replace a will then to create a codicil primarily because there is only one document to verify the veracity of. As you say, it would be just as easy to print off a new will. However, the ease of printing off a new one is a relatively recent technological development. When wills were typed on a typewriter or, in even ...


3

No. In most civil-law countries, including France, a testament must follow very specific forms. It must be either handwritten (holographic will) or confirmed by a notary (authentic will, mystic will). Both possibilities preclude wills as video.


3

Sadly, her assets will go into probate, and a judge/probate master will have to rule on how they're disbursed. Typically someone will be appointed as Administrator to the mother's estate. The administrator will contact all creditors, assemble and inventory/appraise the assets (i.e. furniture, car, house, bank accounts, etc.) and pay funerary expenses. ...


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