When you first make a will you usually rely on your estate planning attorney to tell you what you need to include. No two wills are identical, and each of them contains provisions or clauses that relate to the will maker’s individual circumstances. There are, however, certain clauses that are very commonly found and, while they may not be required by law, they are an important piece of any last will and testament. Here are two of the more common ones.
It’s common to begin a will with a statement proclaiming that the document represents your last wishes, and that any document you made prior to it is now revoked or void. This is important because you can change your mind about your will at any time. In order for a court to be convinced that it is your final will, it will need to be assured that you didn’t, at some point, change your mind or intend that a previous will should represent your final wishes.
Many people create a will and name specific individuals as the recipients of specific gifts. For all those gifts you don’t specifically identify you can include a residuary clause. This clause grants all the unidentified property you have remaining. For example, some people choose to give the residuary of their estate to a charity or divide it equally between their children or grandchildren.
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