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Trust and Estates Newsletters

Co-Ownership Myths – I

One of the most confusing aspects of estate planning is the numerous myths about co-ownership of property. Many people do not understand the differences between a tenancy in common and a joint tenancy with right of survivorship. Many people do not understand what a tenancy by the entirety is or was. Many people do not understand the differences between the common law forms of co-ownership and community property. Moreover, people may define their own forms of co-ownership by contract. This article discusses some of the many myths about the co-ownership of property.

Executors — Steps Prior to Opening the Estate

The terms “executor,” “administrator,” and ” personal representative” are all synonyms for someone who is legally responsible for managing the estate of a person who has died. The position of executor may be filled by a specific person named in the decedent’s will or, if the decedent did not make a will, by someone whose relationship with the decedent makes him the legally responsible party (i.e., parent or spouse). The position can be refused.

Handwritten and Oral Wills

Today, the standard method of making a will is the formal witnessed written will, sometimes called an attested will. However, today’s formal witnessed will has roots in other methods of making a will. The first wills in medieval England were the oral wills recognized by church-related courts. Some states permit one or more of the historic methods of making a will. This article discusses handwritten and orals wills. Contact your lawyer to learn if these methods of will making are permitted in your state.

Healthcare Power of Attorney Formalities

There are a few technical requirements with which you must comply before a healthcare power of attorney will be considered legally valid and binding.

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.”