Testamentary capacity refers to an individual’s mental competency or capacity, to execute a will at the time the will is signed and witnessed. The author of the will is expected to understand what a will entails and be able to have a general knowledge of what he or she possesses. A codicil is a legal instrument, that a testator uses to make changes to a will without having to start writing a new will. It is drafted in a similar format as the original will and sets clearly the revoked provisions in the previous will, as well as the new provisions being added.
A living will is a legal document used by a person to declare his or her wishes as regards, as he or she receives life-prolonging treatments. This enables a person to inform the health care providers and family, of his individual wishes for medical treatment when unable to speak for himself. This enables another person to make health care decisions for a patient when fully incapacitated and not able to speak for himself. The probate concept involves the management process of proper distribution of property belonging to the deceased. This is in most times, carried out by a specifically assigned executor and can be assisted by a probate attorney. The process of probate can be made easier when there is a written will.
Intestate succession takes place when the property is distributed after a person dies, and does not leave a valid will. The spouse and heirs inherit the property by the laws of descent, distribution, and marital rights. This only applies to property that is solely owned by the deceased. However, the intestate property does not have a designated individual to inherit the property, which makes it difficult to determine the rightful beneficiary.