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Trust and Estates

Trust and Estates Newsletters

Inheritance Without Planning Means No Provisions Beyond the Default Plan

When a person dies intestate (without making and leaving a will), each state provides a default plan (usually known as the statute of descent and distribution) under which his or her net estate is disposed. When a person dies intestate, there is no adding of provisions beyond the default plan. The default plan is only the default plan and nothing more. This article discusses the disadvantages of descent and distribution related to the inability to add provisions beyond the default plan.

Protection of the Immediate Family

One of the main purposes for making and leaving a will is to guide the administration of the estate of the testator–the person who made the will. A will should be written in language that is clear and indisputable. Alas, the language in a will may be unclear or vague. This article discusses will interpretation doctrines designed to protect the testator’s immediate family from mistakes, or apparent mistakes, by the testator.

Testamentary Intent

In order to make a will, a person must intend to make a will. A person must have what is known as testamentary intent. The adjective ‘testamentary’ means related to a will, and is a derivative of the word ‘testament’–the Latin word for will. The Latin phrase for testamentary intent is animus testandi, “the intention to make a testament.”

Trusts Classified

Trusts are commonly classifed in two ways. The first way is by the duties of the trustee. The second way is by the intent, if any, of the settlor to create a trust. This article discusses generally these two ways of classifying a trust.

Will Contests — Lack of Testamentary Capacity, Improper Execution, Bogus Will

You cannot contest a will simply because you don’t like the provisions, or because you received less than you felt you should have received, or because the provisions were, in your opinion, unfair. You must have legal grounds, which, if supported by the evidence, would cause the will to be rejected by the Probate Court.

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