Eg children from the deceaseds previous marriage and

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(e.g., children from the deceased's previous marriage), and the deceased's parents. For instance, if a person dies intestate in the state of California, the surviving spouse receives one-half of the estate if there is only one surviving child. If there are two or more surviving children, the surviving spouse receives one-third and the children split the remaining two-thirds, regardless of whether they are children from the marriage. Parents inherit through intestate succession only if there are no surviving children. In Oregon, the surviving spouse generally receives all real and personal property, unless the intestate is survived by children not of the marriage, in which case the surviving spouse receives half the intestate's real and personal property. Legal Principle: State law outlines what happens when an individual dies without a will.
The one legal document almost everyone will make is a last will and testament. REQUIREMENTS FOR A LEGALLY VALID WILL Individuals should create legally valid wills so that their own wishes control what happens to their property and children. Otherwise, the wishes of a state legislature will control, and legislators may or may not place the same importance on the roles of particular family members in a person's life. Small business owners also create wills. They need to make some decisions in advance, such as who will inherit the business, how power and assets will be transferred, and who will run the business if the owner is incapacitated for a period of time. A person who writes a will is called a testator A person who writes a will. . A will is generally valid if it meets four requirements (see Exhibit 52-1 ). First, the testator must have testamentary capacity The minimum age required to write a legal will and be of sound mind. , which means that the person must be old enough to write a will (age 18 in most states) and be of sound mind. Courts decide whether a person is of sound mind by considering whether the testator knows the extent of his or her property, understands traditions regarding who should get the property (even though the testator does not have to follow tradition), knows he or she is making a will, and is not delusional. Second, a will almost always must be in writing to be valid. The writing may take a variety of forms, but usually a will is typewritten on regular paper. It is possible, however, for a legally valid will to be written in handwriting on a pillowcase! One exception to the
writing requirement is that a person may make a verbal will as he or she is about to die. (Exhibit 52- 2 explains some special kinds of wills.) Third, the person writing the will must sign the will. Usually, a person signs his or her name at the end of the will and signs or initials each page to make sure no one adds or omits a page after the testator dies. Fourth, witnesses must attest to the will. A witness must witness the signing of the will and then sign as a witness at the end of the document. A person who will receive property under a will, a beneficiary

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