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Last Will and Testament Questions

Can the Executor of a Will with Power of Attorney Distribute Assets Before the Death of the Maker?

A Last Will and Testament does not transfer property or assets until after the death of the maker of that Will.

But a person who is named Attorney-in-Fact by a Power of Attorney document can manage the assets of a Principal, so long as ‘best interest’ is applied. [ Read More... →]

Last Will and Testament Questions  ·  July 16th, 2014

If I am Divorcing My Spouse, Can I Create a New Will To Exclude That Spouse?

Many states have laws that prevent one spouse from disinheriting another spouse within a Last Will and Testament. As such, it may be wise to wait until the Divorce proceedings are finalized to create a new Last Will and Testament. [ Read More... →]

Divorce Questions · Last Will and Testament Questions  ·  July 15th, 2014

How Do I Know if Distribution of my Family’s Will is to be Per Stirpes or Per Capita?

Typically, the words ‘per stirpes’ or ‘per capita’ are used directly within the language of a well-written Last Will & Testament document. [ Read More... →]

Last Will and Testament Questions  ·  June 23rd, 2014

How is a Joint Will with an Ex-Spouse and Children Handled if Other Ex-Spouses and Children Exist?

In most states, upon Divorce the law treats a former spouse as if he or she died before the Testator, i.e. the person making the Will.

But typically the remainder of the Will continues to be effective.

So generally, a former spouse of a Joint Will is treated as deceased and the children named in the Will remain as beneficiaries.

But not always. [ Read More... →]

Divorce Questions · Last Will and Testament Questions  ·  May 22nd, 2014

If a Married Couple Has Individual Wills, Does the Will of the First Spouse to Pass Go to Probate?

Yes, for a married couple with individual Last Will and Testament documents, the Will of the first spouse to pass must be Probated.

Once Probate is completed on that spouse’s Will, only the remaining Will document would still be in force.

Last Will and Testament Questions  ·  May 14th, 2014

How Does a Beneficiary Deed Work in Conjunction with a Last Will?

A Beneficiary Deed is a transfer-on-death instrument. That means when this form of Deed is used in conjunction with a Last Will and Testament, probate is avoided. [ Read More... →]

Last Will and Testament Questions · Quitclaim and Warranty Deed Questions  ·  April 28th, 2014

Why Won’t My Deceased Father’s Bank Honor His Last Will and Provide Account Access?

Banks do not accept a Last Will and Testament document as proof to provide access to funds in an account for obvious reasons. [ Read More... →]

Last Will and Testament Questions  ·  April 15th, 2014

If a Property Was Quitclaimed Years Ago to One Child, Can a Will Give Shares to Other Children?

If a real estate property has been properly assigned via Quitclaim Deed to any other person, that property is no longer an asset of the person who gave it away. [ Read More... →]

Last Will and Testament Questions · Quitclaim and Warranty Deed Questions  ·  April 1st, 2014

What Happens if I Can’t Find My Parents’ Will After They Die?

Generally, if a Last Will and Testament cannot be found after the death of a family member (or even a copy of the original Will document), it may be presumed that the person died intestate, i.e. without a Will. [ Read More... →]

Last Will and Testament Questions  ·  March 18th, 2014

If My Spouse Had a Home and Child Prior to our Marriage, Do I Get the Home If He Dies?

The answer to this question would depend on a number of factors: [ Read More... →]

Last Will and Testament Questions · Quitclaim and Warranty Deed Questions  ·  March 17th, 2014

Can an Will’s Executor Use a Quitclaim Deed to Transfer Listed Property?

An Executor has no authority to sign a Quitclaim Deed on behalf of a deceased person. [ Read More... →]

Last Will and Testament Questions · Quitclaim and Warranty Deed Questions  ·  March 16th, 2014

What is the Best Way to Exclude Children from a Last Will?

When children are to be excluded from a Last Will and Testament, the situation can be handled in one of two ways: [ Read More... →]

Last Will and Testament Questions  ·  January 8th, 2014

Can We Collect Rent from a Family Member Who Won’t Leave a House to be Sold per a Will?

The estate of the deceased should be directed through a Probate Court proceeding shortly after death, with the property distributed per the Probate Court according to the terms of the Will. [ Read More... →]

Last Will and Testament Questions  ·  December 3rd, 2013

Must a California Will Be Notarized or Are Two Witness Signatures Sufficient?

Two witnesses signatures on a Last Will and Testament suffice to make that document legal and valid in the state of California. [ Read More... →]

Last Will and Testament Questions  ·  November 8th, 2013

Can a Will’s Executor Override the Stated Distribution?

Certainly not. The Executor of a Will has a legal, fiduciary duty to distribute the assets specifically as directed within the Last Will and Testament document.

If an Executor fails to follow the Will’s instructions, a petition may be made to the Probate Court.

Last Will and Testament Questions  ·  October 29th, 2013

How is Property Not Mentioned Specifically in a Will Distributed to Beneficiaries?

Typically, a well-written Will has a ‘remainder’ clause that distributes all assets not specifically gifted to a named beneficiary.

If such a remainder clause does not exist in the Will, the Probate Court will typically direct the distribution per state law.

Last Will and Testament Questions  ·  October 29th, 2013

Does a Beneficary of a Will have the Right to Full Disclosure of All the Deceased’s Possessions?

It is the responsibility of the Executor to detail the inventory and distribution of all assets and expenses of an estate after the death of the Maker of the Will, and to follow the instructions for distribution of those assets as listed in the Will. [ Read More... →]

Last Will and Testament Questions  ·  June 9th, 2013

How Does a Wife Take Over a Home Willed to Her When Only the Husband’s Name Was On the Deed?

In most states, a Probate Estate would need to be opened so that the probate court could issue an order transferring title to the sole beneficiaries’ name.

Most states have an expedited or summary process if the assets to be probated are limited.

Last Will and Testament Questions · Quitclaim and Warranty Deed Questions  ·  May 22nd, 2013

If Specific Dollar Amounts Are Listed for Distribution in a Will But the Estate Has Lower Value, How are the Assets Distributed?

A close examination of the specific language of the Will, as well as the type of property being made as bequests through the Will, is required to determine distribution. [ Read More... →]

Last Will and Testament Questions  ·  May 15th, 2013

How is Money in a Joint Bank Account Treated if it is Not Mentioned in the Decedent’s Will?

In most cases, money held in a joint bank account is owned equally by the parties whose names appear on the account.

Upon the death of one account holder, the surviving account holder is the sole owner of the money in the account.

Such jointly held money is not typically considered a part of the decedent’s estate.

Last Will and Testament Questions  ·  May 9th, 2013