The concept of a last will and testament can be traced back to the ancient Greeks. While at its basic level, the last will is a final instruction as to what to do with a person’s assets when he dies, sometimes the matter gets a little more complicated than a plain old will.
First, getting the will admitted comes with procedural issues. Who will file the will in probate at times becomes more contentious than what the will actually says. This can happen when the person named as executor of the will dies, and there is no backup person named in the document. In that case, there is a priority of persons who are entitled to be the administrator with the will annexed, but that has many limitations. So, lets say the decedent died, his executor dies, and there is a vacancy in the office of the executor or personal representative. If a child wants to become an administrator, while he might have priority, he may or may not be able to get bonded, which will effectively disqualify him from acting as an administrator. If a conservator was appointed for the decedent, that conservator has rights to become the administrator.
In certain cases, it is more efficient to have a professional fiduciary act as the administrator, because he or she can get bonded without a problem, and because the courts prefer a neutral over battling siblings or feuding family members. So, the appointment of a personal representative administrator is one item of disputes regarding last wills and testaments.
In other situations, the written disposition may be a problem. The range of issues can include an ambiguity in the language, the non-existence of an asset specifically gifts, or even the sale of an asset which may have a debt, but which may have been specifically devised. Assuming the person who executed the will had the capacity to sign a will and was competent at the time of the signing, there are still possible contests involving undue influence.
Our law office assists individuals who want to prepare their last will and testament. Consult our attorney about the impact of the will and review the assets that will be administered before you sign the will. This is especially important if you have a business which needs to be probated upon death. Creating a will is easy and takes very little time as does the related consultation.
By: Mina N. Sirkin, Wills and Trusts attorney in Los Angeles, who is California Board Certified as a specialist in Estate Planning, Probate and Trus Law. Consult us in the San Fernando Valley or Los Angeles at 818.340.4479 and email us here.