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What is a Last Will and Testament

 

A Maine Last Will and Testament, when prepared and executed properly by a person who is an adult of sound mind with legal responsibility for his- or herself, is a formal document that specifies how their assets or estate will be managed and distributed after their death. The person who dies is formally referred to as the decedent. If the decedent has minor children, the Last Will and Testament may also be used to designate who they want to care for their children and who they wish to handle their childrenís inheritance/finances until each child comes of age (usually 18, but you can designate a different age) to handle their finances on their own.

In a Last Will and Testament, the decedent usually also names a personal representativeóor co-personal representatives (two or more persons acting together in this capacity)óto manage the matters of the estate. The personal representative is the person who gathers all of the information about the decedentís debts and assets, pays outstanding debts using the assets on behalf of the estate, and ensures that the decedentís property is distributed as specified in the Will, so this is a job with a lot of responsibility, and the personal representative selected is usually someone the decedent really trusts to follow through on the details and with his or her wishes.

If a person dies without having a valid Last Will and Testament (which usuallyóin most statesómeans it must be properly witnessed, as wellónot just signed), someone will usually be appointed by the court to be the personal representative and will pay the decedentís debts, liquidizing assets as necessary to do so. Then the remaining assets will be distributed among the decedentís heirs according to the laws of the state the decedent lived in.

In some states, if one spouse dies leaving behind a husband or wife, that living spouse will inherit all of the decedentís property in the absence of a Last Will and Testament stating to the contrary. In other cases, the decedent may have specified a particular beneficiary to inherit a life insurance policy, retirement account, or other asset, and that beneficiary designation will dictate who receives those assets in the absence of a Maine Last Will and Testament.

The important thing to note is that anyone who wishes to designate how their assets will be distributed after their death should prepare and properly execute a Last Will and Testament to ensure their wishes are known and honored. If they donít, they may be leaving it up to chance, the laws of the state in which they reside at the time of their death, or a court of law as to how their final affairs will be settled.  Maine free information on last will and testament forms.

Legal Requirements for Last Will in Maine

If a person is worried about oneís property after oneís death, about the heirs, and about the minor children (if present), the lawyers recommend one to create a Last Will and Testament document. This is an official paper, which has to be taken into consideration when distributing the private property of the deceased. Officially, this person is called ďdecedentĒ ó this is the legit term used in the documents. This paper will become an instruction for family and friends on how to distribute assets of the deceased person in case of his/her (un)expected death.

Depending on the state, the rules of forming and legalizing the Last Will differ. In Maine, citizens, if they want to make their document legit, have to write it by hand or print it, sign it by themselves and then ask two witnesses to sign it as well. The witnesses have to be older than 18 years old, have to be sane (these are the basic requirements for signing such a document), and must not claim their legacies on the property of the testator (or testatrix).

The Last Will paper must include several obligatory points. The first one is the statement of representatives. The representatives also called ďexecutors,Ē are specially chosen people who can be trusted with the management of the decedentís resources. Representatives thus must deal with the decedentís debts in accordance with the rules, using the assets of the latter. After this step is performed, the rest of the assets must be transferred to the inheritors in accordance with the decedentís will. Usually, testators choose close, trustworthy people to manage their affairs after their death.

If the Last Will was not created in advance or is not legit, then the court chooses the representative (one or more) to manage the decedentís business. Often, the choice falls on spouses or adult children, sometimes or other relatives and friends.

The second key aspect to be reflected in the Last Will and Testament document is the choice of the guardians. The guardians are people to whom the children of the decedent will move after the testatorís death. If the child is under 18 and is incapable of taking care of oneself, the guardians take this function till the child turns 18.

Another important component of the Last Will document is the list of assets that later will be transferred to the heirs. A testator has to provide a clear and precise list of his belongings and exact desires concerning the inheritance order.

Summing up, every Last Will and Testament has to include the following aspects:

  • Testatorís full name

  • The required information about the representatives

  • The required information about the guardians

  • The precise list of counted assets and private property

  • The desires concerning the inheritance order

  • The personal signature of the testator

  • The signatures of the witnesses.

When built properly and signed, the paper becomes an official document. The Last Will and Testament should be put in a safe place (like a safe deposit) to prevent inheritance-concerned frauds.

 

 

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