Survivorship

Survivorship

Some people put a clause in their will stating that anyone receiving property under the will must survive for thirty days (or forty-five or sixty) after the death of the person who made the will. This is so if two people die in the same accident, there will not be two probates and the property will not go to the other party's heirs.

Example: Fred and Wilma were married and each had children by previous marriages. They did not have survivorship clauses in their wills, and they were in an airplane crash and died. Fred's children hired several expert witnesses and a large law firm to prove that at the time of the crash Fred lived for a few minutes longer than Wilma. That way, when Wilma died first, all of her property went to Fred. When he died a few minutes later, all of Fred and Wilma's property went to his children. Wilma's children got nothing.

  • What is a Will?
    A last will is a document that you create to direct the management and distribution of your property and provide for the care of your minor children after your death. The importance of a last will cannot be overstated. A last will is arguably the most important legal document that the average...
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  • Leaving Property to Heirs in a Will
    A typical last will contains two types of gifts: specific and general. Specific gifts, which leave a particular object or dollar amount to a particular person, are optional, but are generally the first items of property that are distributed from a last will. A specific gift might read: "I leave to...
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  • Last Wills and Probate Court
    Probate is the legal process through which the court decides how your property will be divided. If you have a last will, the court will review that document to determine your wishes and will follow those wishes unless the last will is successfully contested by your heirs. If you do not have a last...
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  • Joint Tenancy
    Property that is owned in joint tenancy with right of survivorship does not pass under a will. If a will gives property to one person but it is already in a joint account with another person, the will is usually ignored and the joint owner of the account gets the property. The property in the...
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  • Overruling Your Will
    If all property is in joint ownership or if all property is distributed through a will, things are simple. But when some property passes by each method, a person's plans may not be fulfilled. Example 1: Bill's will leaves all his property to his sister, Mary. Bill dies owning a house jointly with...
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  • Tenancy in Common
    Property that is owned by more than one person but not owned in joint tenancy with right of survivorship or in tenancy by the entireties is often owned in a tenancy in common. This means that each person owns part of the property (such as one half or one third), and upon each person's death, the...
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