A last will and testament is a legal document that contains a person’s final wishes concerning possessions and dependents. The document outlines what the decedent wishes to do with his or her possessions, whether they want another person or group to obtain them or donate them to charity. It also includes what happens to other assets the person is responsible for, such as the management of accounts, properties, or interests, as well as any specific preferences or wishes for the funeral.
The individual creating the will is the testator, while the recipients are called the heirs. A recipient can only become an heir legally upon the death of the testator.
While oral wills are accepted in certain countries, only written wills are considered legal in the Philippines. Any person aged 18 and above and of sound mind is legally allowed to create a last will and testament without requiring assistance from a lawyer.
You can visit this page to see a sample of a last will and testament.
Preparing your will
Before you start writing your will, you need to have a good idea on what you should include. Basically, a will should contain how the testator wants his or her properties disposed. Compulsory heirs, whether the surviving spouse, offspring (legitimate or illegitimate), or parents cannot be excluded from the disposition, unless there is legal cause for disinheritance.
It is important for a testator to be very specific when creating the will. Avoid using vague phrasing such as “my properties” or “my vehicles,” as this can result in confusion among your surviving family members or relatives. Remember to be clear in specifying which particular possessions or what specific property goes to whom.
What happens if you don’t make a last will and testament?
If you do not leave a will after passing away, the law will determine how your assets and properties are divided among your surviving family members or relatives. Properties will be given in equal shares to the decedent’s compulsory heirs – the spouse and children. In case there are no compulsory heirs, the law provides who is qualified to inherit from the decedent. An extra-judicial settlement can be executed among the heirs in case no will was created.
When preparing a will, a testator is allowed to include any prerequisite for an heir’s acquisition of his or her wealth, as long as they comply with guidelines that are stated in the civil code.
Because the country’s law in succession is based on the Spanish civil code from the past, some of the existing requirements were retained from that era. A person preparing a will can include a tradition, for example, that his or her surviving spouse shall not marry again.
Updating the will
Once you’ve written your will, be sure you update it every year or so. A lot of things can change during your lifetime – you may get married, have more children, or acquire more properties or assets as time goes by. Your will should reflect any major changes that occur in your life.
Talk to Duran Duran-Schulze Law today at [email protected] or (+632) 478 5826.