Eddie, age 70, decides to write his own will. He is a widower and had four children and eight grandchildren. Two of his children, Rob and Pete, are unmarried and have no children. Kate, his oldest child, is married and has two children and Mark, his youngest child, has 6 children. Mark, who was married, is deceased. Eddie borrows some language from an old legal textbook, and he leaves everything equally to his children who survive him and to the descendants of his children who predecease him, per capita. He has a neighbor and his oldest child, Kate, witness his will. They sign on lines directly below his name.
1. How old does Eddie have to be to sign a will?
2. Eddie has disinherited his oldest child, Kate.
3. Eddie has disinherited Kate's children.
4. At Eddie's death, his distributable net estate (what is left after taxes, expenses, and creditors) will be divided under his will:
5. Assume that Eddie's neighbor, who witnessed the will, dies before Eddie. As a result, it is likely that Eddie's will be declared invalid after Eddie passes on.
6. Eddie's will could be admitted to probate, in spite of his neighbor's death, if:
7. If Eddie's will is not declared valid during the probate process, his distributable net estate will be divided according to state intestacy statutes:
8. Assume that Kate, his oldest child, also dies before Eddie. If Eddie's will is not admitted to probate, his distributable net estate will be divided:
9. Eddie would have been better off without his do-it-yourself will.
10. Eddie attends an estate planning course at his local Cooperative Extension office, and he learns of the problems his do-it-yourself will may cause. He can revoke his will by:
See all Advance Directives Case Studies.
Adapted for use in the Legally Secure Your Financial Future: Organize, Communicate, Prepare program.
Content Development by:
Carol A. Schwab, J.D., LL.M.,
Former Professor and Extension Specialist, North Carolina State University.
This document is for non-profit educational purposes only. This document may not be used by a profit-making company or organization. When used by a non-profit organization, appropriate credit must be given to the Cooperative Extension Legally Secure Your Financial Future: Organize, Communicate, Prepare education program. Materials for this program were developed by a team from six land-grant universities. The program is included in the program toolkit of the Cooperative Extension Financial Security in Later Life national initiative. For more information go to: http://www.csrees.usda.gov/fsll.