A Basic Discussion On Last Will And Testament

It cannot be denied that the settlement of a deceased person's estate can lead to bitter litigations if the relatives cannot see eye to eye. This is why preparing a last will and testament is a good option to prevent conflicts. A last will and testament refers to an act whereby an individual is permitted, following the legal procedures, to control a certain degree the disposition of his/her estate. The will serves as a document whereby the testator disposes of his/her estate or property, which will take effect upon his/her death. The testator refers to the deceased person who created the will. A legatee refers to the person whom the testator gives the personal property through a will while the devisee is the person who is given real property in a will. The person who is entrusted to implement the provisions is referred to as the executor.

Inheritance versus Will

A will differs from inheritance as the latter refers to "all the property, rights and obligations of a person who are not extinguished by his death" according to Civil Code, Art. 776. The will determines the disposition of the inheritance.

A document may be entitled a last will and testament but when it provides that all properties need to be transferred during the testator's lifetime, it is not considered a will because a will takes effect upon the testator's death. A disposition that takes effect before his/her death is referred to as a donation and this should be governed by the formalities of and legal provisions on donations.

Two kinds of wills: Holographic and Notarial

A holographic will refers to a writen document which is dated and signed by the hand of the testator himself while a notarial will is governed by the provisions under Article 805 and 806, Civil Code.

"    Art. 805. Every will, other than a holographic will, must be subscribed at the end thereof by the testator himself or by the testator’s name written by some other person in his presence, and by his express direction, and attested and subscribed by three or more credible witnesses in the presence of the testator and of one another.

    The testator or the person requested by him to write his name and the instrumental witnesses of the will, shall also sign, as aforesaid, each and every page thereof, except the last, on the left margin, and all the pages shall be numbered correlatively in letters placed on the upper part of each page.

    The attestation shall state the number of pages used upon which the will is written, and the fact that the testator signed the will and every page thereof, or caused some other person to write his name, under his express direction, in the presence of the instrumental witnesses, and that the latter witnessed and signed the will and all the pages thereof in the presence of the testator and of one another.

    If the attestation clause is in a language not known to the witnesses, it shall be interpreted to them.

    Art. 806. Every will must be acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and the witnesses. The notary public shall not be required to retain a copy of the will, or file another with the office of the Clerk of Court."

Pinoy Attorney

Written by : Pinoy Attorney