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quicklime
08-30-2010, 10:56 PM
my main character intends to will most of his stuff to a neighbor. He is on his way to killing himself and doesn't want to let anyone know his plans.

Do you need a SSN or anything to set up someone as a beneficiary in a will, or can you say "I bequeath all my crap to Jennifer Doe" and simply leave it at that?

Thank you,
Quick

suki
08-30-2010, 10:59 PM
my main character intends to will most of his stuff to a neighbor. He is on his way to killing himself and doesn't want to let anyone know his plans.

Do you need a SSN or anything to set up someone as a beneficiary in a will, or can you say "I bequeath all my crap to Jennifer Doe" and simply leave it at that?

Thank you,
Quick

You can just name the person usually, but every state has specific formalities that must be followed - ie, signed, signed in certain ways, pages initialed, specific language, etc. So look at the requirements for the state in which your character lives. Most have some form for recognizing lay persons' attempts, but there are still certain requirements.

~suki

BudBoxer
08-30-2010, 11:07 PM
Wills depend a lot on state law. To be absolutely correct, check with the local (for your story) regs. Generally don't need a beneficiary's SSN (unless life insurance or IRA involved) but generally a certain number of witnesses required for a will. (That could be an interesting plot twist! An inadvertent witness? The witness only attests he/she saw the will executed; they need not know what's in it.) Beneficiaries generally get listed with some relationship to the deceased, like, child, spouse, friend, nemesis... Good luck!

Williebee
08-30-2010, 11:14 PM
Don't let one of your witnesses be a beneficiary. Unless you want it challenged in court.

:(

Don Allen
08-30-2010, 11:40 PM
State laws, witnesses, and frame of mind.
You can just about add "Challenge" to a Will written in a nursing home or under duress.

However, a hastily written will, say before you take an airplane trip if mailed to yourself, or even left on a voice mail that can be date stamped would more than likely be honored by a court.

Jilly McGilly
08-31-2010, 01:03 AM
My favorite will (yes, I'm geeky that way) was one I read about in law school -- "All to Mother" scrawled hastily right before the poor guy died.

gracemichael
08-31-2010, 06:48 PM
Unless the laws have changed since I took Estate Law in school, a handwritten will does not have to be notarized or witnessed. You could actually write your will on toilet paper and, as long as it is in your handwriting, it would be ok.

A type-written will, however, has to be witnessed and, I think, notarized to be legal.

All wills can be challenged.

stormie
08-31-2010, 07:56 PM
Unless the laws have changed since I took Estate Law in school, a handwritten will does not have to be notarized or witnessed. You could actually write your will on toilet paper and, as long as it is in your handwriting, it would be ok.

A type-written will, however, has to be witnessed and, I think, notarized to be legal.

All wills can be challenged.
Here's where states might differ. A handwritten will, even if witnessed (but not notarized), might have to go before the AG in the state of NJ.

And yes, even if a will is properly done by an attorney and signed, etc, it can still be challenged.

GeorgeK
08-31-2010, 09:27 PM
The problem is that different people have the same name. It's not likely that Bob Smith of Noname Texas will actually contest the will of Tom Smith who left all of his junk to his "friend" Mabel of Noname Texas. However, it does happen. Bob Smith of Nearby Texas might contest it and then the beaurocrats get involved.