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Will (law)
A will or testament is a legal document that expresses a person's (testator) wishes as to how their property ( estate) is to be distributed after their death and as to which person (executor) is to manage the property until its final distribution. For the distribution (devolution) of property not determined by a will, see inheritance and intestacy. Though it has at times been thought that a "will" historically applied only to real property while "testament" applied only to personal property (thus giving rise to the popular title of the document as "last will and testament"), the historical records show that the terms have been used interchangeably. Thus, the word "will" validly applies to both personal and real property. A will may also create a testamentary trust that is effective only after the death of the testator. History Throughout most of the world, the disposition of a dead person's estate has been a matter of social custom. According to Plutarch, the written will was ...
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Testator
A testator () is a person who has written and executed a last will and testament that is in effect at the time of their death. It is any "person who makes a will."Gordon Brown, ''Administration of Wills, Trusts, and Estates'', 3d ed. (2003), p. 556. . Related terms * A female testator is sometimes referred to as a testatrix (), plural testatrices (), particularly in older cases. *In Ahmadiyya Islam, a testator is referred to as a moosi, who is someone that has signed up for Wasiyyat or a will, under the plan initiated by the Promised Messiah, thus committing a portion, not less than one-tenth, of his lifetime earnings and any property to a cause. * The adjectival form of the word is testamentary, as in: # Testamentary capacity, or mental capacity or ability to execute a will and # Testamentary disposition, or gift made in a will (see that article for types). # Testamentary trust, a trust that is created in a will. * A will is also known as a last will and testament. * Testac ...
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Same-sex Marriage
Same-sex marriage, also known as gay marriage, is the marriage of two people of the same sex or gender. marriage between same-sex couples is legally performed and recognized in 33 countries, with the most recent being Mexico, constituting some 1.35 billion people (17% of the world's population). In Andorra, a law allowing same-sex marriage will come into force on 17 February 2023. Adoption rights are not necessarily covered, though most states with same-sex marriage allow those couples to jointly adopt as other married couples can. In contrast, 34 countries (as of 2021) have definitions of marriage in their constitutions that prevent marriage between couples of the same sex, most enacted in recent decades as a preventative measure. Some other countries have constitutionally mandated Islamic law, which is generally interpreted as prohibiting marriage between same-sex couples. In six of the former and most of the latter, homosexuality itself is criminalized. There are rec ...
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Codicil (will)
A codicil is a testamentary or supplementary document similar but not necessarily identical to a will. In some jurisdictions, it may serve to amend, rather than replace, a previously executed will. In others, it may serve as an alternative to a will. In still others, there is no recognized distinction between a codicil and a will. Etymology Latin codicillus meaning a short additional text or a small writing tablet. The diminutive of codex see also code Origins The concept of a testamentary document as similar to but distinct from a will originated in Roman law. In the pre-classical period, a testator was required to nominate an heir in order for his will to be valid (''heredis institutio''). Failure to nominate an heir or failure to observe the proper formalities for nomination of an heir resulted in an estate divided pursuant to the rules of intestacy. However, a testator was also able to institute a '' fideicommissum'', a more flexible and less formal indication of the test ...
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Personal Property
property is property that is movable. In common law systems, personal property may also be called chattels or personalty. In civil law systems, personal property is often called movable property or movables—any property that can be moved from one location to another. Personal property can be understood in comparison to real estate, immovable property or real property (such as land and buildings). Movable property on land (larger livestock, for example) was not automatically sold with the land, it was "personal" to the owner and moved with the owner. The word ''cattle'' is the Old Norman variant of Old French ''chatel'', chattel (derived from Latin ''capitalis'', “of the head”), which was once synonymous with general movable personal property. Classifications Personal property may be classified in a variety of ways. Intangible Intangible personal property or "intangibles" refers to personal property that cannot actually be moved, touched or felt, but instead repr ...
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Bequest
A bequest is property given by will. Historically, the term ''bequest'' was used for personal property given by will and ''deviser'' for real property. Today, the two words are used interchangeably. The word ''bequeath'' is a verb form for the act of making a bequest. Etymology Bequest comes from Old English ''becwethan'', "to declare or express in words" — cf. "quoth". Interpretations Part of the process of probate involves interpreting the instructions in a will. Some wordings that define the scope of a bequest have specific interpretations. "All the estate I own" would involve all of the decedent's possessions at the moment of death. A ''conditional bequest'' is a bequest that will be granted only if a particular event has occurred by the time of its operation. For example, a testator might write in the will that "Mary will receive the house held in trust if she is married" or "if she has children," etc. An ''executory bequest'' is a bequest that will be granted only if ...
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Beneficiary
A beneficiary (also, in trust law, '' cestui que use'') in the broadest sense is a natural person or other legal entity who receives money or other benefits from a benefactor. For example, the beneficiary of a life insurance policy is the person who receives the payment of the amount of insurance after the death of the insured. Most beneficiaries may be designed to designate where the assets will go when the owner(s) dies. However, if the primary beneficiary or beneficiaries are not alive or do not qualify under the restrictions, the assets will probably pass to the ''contingent beneficiaries''. Other restrictions such as being married or more creative ones can be used by a benefactor to attempt to control the behavior of the beneficiaries. Some situations such as retirement accounts do not allow any restrictions beyond death of the primary beneficiaries, but trusts allow any restrictions that are not illegal or for an illegal purpose. The concept of a "beneficiary" will also f ...
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Administrator (law)
In law an administrator (or administratrix for women) can be: * a person appointed by the court to handle the estate of someone who died without a will (administrator of an estate). * In United Kingdom bankruptcy law, an office holder appointed under an Administration Order in relation to a company in financial difficulty, as an alternative to liquidation Liquidation is the process in accounting by which a company is brought to an end in Canada, United Kingdom, United States, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, and many other countries. The assets and property of the company are redistrib .... See also *'' Beswick v. Beswick'' * De bonis non administratis English contract law {{Law-term-stub ...
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English Law
English law is the common law legal system of England and Wales, comprising mainly criminal law and civil law, each branch having its own courts and procedures. Principal elements of English law Although the common law has, historically, been the foundation and prime source of English law, the most authoritative law is statutory legislation, which comprises Acts of Parliament, regulations and by-laws. In the absence of any statutory law, the common law with its principle of ''stare decisis'' forms the residual source of law, based on judicial decisions, custom, and usage. Common law is made by sitting judges who apply both statutory law and established principles which are derived from the reasoning from earlier decisions. Equity is the other historic source of judge-made law. Common law can be amended or repealed by Parliament. Not being a civil law system, it has no comprehensive codification. However, most of its criminal law has been codified from its common ...
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Joint Will
Joint wills and mutual wills are closely related terms used in the law of wills to describe two types of testamentary writing that may be executed by a married couple to ensure that their property is disposed of identically. Neither should be confused with mirror wills which means two separate, identical wills, which may or may not also be mutual wills. Joint wills A joint will is a single document executed by more than one person (typically between spouses), making which has effect in relation to each signatory's property upon death (unless the will is revoked (cancels) the will during the signatory's lifetime). Although a single document, the joint will is a separate distribution of property by each executor (signatory) and will be treated as such on admission to probate. Mutual wills are any two (or more) wills which are mutually binding, such that following the first death the survivor is constrained in the ability to dispose of the property by the agreement the survivor mad ...
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Holographic Will
A holographic will, or olographic testament, is a will and testament which is a holographic document, i.e. it has been entirely handwritten and signed by the testator. Historically, a will had to be signed by witnesses attesting to the validity of the testator's signature and intent, but in many jurisdictions, holographic wills that have not been witnessed are treated equally to witnessed wills and need only to meet minimal requirements in order to be probated: * There must be evidence that the testator actually created the will, which can be proved through the use of witnesses, handwriting experts, or other methods. * The testator must have had the intellectual capacity to write the will, although there is a presumption that a testator had such capacity unless there is evidence to the contrary. * The testator must be expressing a wish to direct the distribution of his or her estate to beneficiaries. Holographic wills are common and are also often created in emergency situa ...
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Nuncupative Will
An oral will (or nuncupative will) is a will that has been delivered orally (that is, in speech) to witnesses, as opposed to the usual form of wills, which is written and according to a proper format. A minority of U.S. states (approximately 20 as of 2009), permit nuncupative wills under certain circumstances. Under most statutes, such wills can only be made during a person's "last sickness," must be witnessed by at least three persons, and reduced to writing by the witnesses within a specified amount of time after the testator's death. Some states also place limits on the types and value of property that can be bequeathed in this manner. A few U.S. states permit nuncupative wills made by military personnel on active duty. Under the law in England and Wales oral wills are permitted to military personnel and merchant seamen on duty (see law report below) and it is common practice in Commonwealth countries. An analogy can be drawn to the concept of last donations ('' donatio mort ...
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Undue Influence
Undue influence (UI) is a psychological process by which a person's free will and judgement is supplanted by that of another. It is a legal term and the strict definition varies by jurisdiction. Generally speaking, it is a means by which a person gains control over their victims' decision making through manipulation tactics and unfair pressure, typically for financial gain. Historically, UI has been poorly understood, even in some legal circles. Undue influence is typically perpetrated by a person who is trusted by the victim and is dependent on them for emotional and physical needs. Caregivers are often found to have unduly influenced their patients, however, anyone in a position of trust and authority over the victim (e.g. fiduciary) may be guilty. This includes the victims' attorney, accountant, nursing home attendant, or even children. UI is a ''process'', not a single event. A manipulator may spend weeks, months, or even years before successfully unduly-influencing thei ...
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