The Ultimate How Wills Work Quiz

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

The Ultimate How Wills Work Quiz
Image: The French School/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Almost everyone should have a legally binding and updated will. It's important that your possessions and hard earned assets are divided up according to your wishes after you die. Wills are easier and cheaper to complete than you may think. Take this quiz and learn about how to create a legally binding will.
Who should have a will?
anyone of retirement age
anyone of legal age
Wills are very important and anyone of legal age should have one. Even young adults have possessions and assets.
anyone with children

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Who needs to sign a will?
a testator
a testator and a lawyer
a testator and one witness
In most states, you actually do not need a lawyer when drafting and signing a will. A testator, which is the person who's will it is, and one witness are the only people that need to sign a will to make it binding.

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Besides assets and possessions, what else can be included in a will?
burial instructions
You can also include your burial instructions in your will. It is advised, however, to keep burial instructions in a separate document so that your family can easily access it when you die.
insurance policies
both of the above

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In order for your will to be legally binding, you must be:
free of mental illness
aware of your assets and possessions
both of the above
You must be of sound mind when signing your will, otherwise a probate court may rule that it is not binding. Sound mind includes being free of mental illness and aware of your assets and possessions.

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Who is the most important person named in a will?
yourself
your executor
The executor, also known as the personal representative, is the most important person named in a will. This person is responsible for gathering all of your personal property, paying off your debts from your estate and distributing your assets according to your wishes.
your beneficiary

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Who should be your executor in your will?
someone who has business experience
someone you trust
both of the above
Although your executor can really be anyone, it's best to put some thought into this. Consider choosing someone who is intelligent, thoughtful, trustworthy and has business experience.

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What type of will is most commonly challenged in probate court?
oral wills
deathbed wills
If you are faced with imminent death, you may quickly draft a deathbed will. Unfortunately, these wills are most commonly challenged in probate court. The mental state of the person drafting the will is frequently called into question.
combat wills

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Deathbed wills must be witnessed by:
at least two witnesses
At least two witnesses must be present when signing a deathbed will. Since deathbed wills are typically written quickly, they are usually riddled with errors.
a lawyer and two witnesses
a lawyer, a doctor and two witnesses

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Who is likely to make an oral will?
people who cannot read
children
soldiers in combat
Oral wills are communicated to a witness instead of written down. Oral wills are generally used when someone believes there isn't enough time to write a written will, such as in the case of soldiers in combat.

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What are holographic wills?
wills that are written with pictures of your possessions
informal wills that are handwritten
Holographic wills are informal and typically handwritten. Keep in mind, holographic wills may not be legally binding.
wills that are completed online

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What should you do if you create a do-it-yourself will?
Review your state's law regarding legal wills.
Have the will reviewed by a lawyer.
either of the above
There are many resources available for creating a do-it-yourself will, including Web sites and books. It's still important, however, to review your state law regarding wills or have the do-it-yourself will reviewed by a lawyer.

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What type of will is least likely to be challenged in court?
self-probating wills
Self-probating wills drafted by a lawyer are the least likely to be challenged. They also save on time, allowing your executor to distribute your assets and possessions soon after you die.
wills drafted by a will office
wills created by using government forms

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What should you do if you want to make changes to your existing will?
You can create an entirely new will.
You can add an amendment to your existing will.
either of the above
It's not uncommon for people to change their will over time. You can either create an entirely new will, or you can attach a codicil, which is a legally binding amendment to your existing will.

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Who is entitled to contest a will in probate court?
someone that is mentioned in the will
someone that should have been mentioned in the will
both of the above
Only persons of legal standing can contest a will in probate court. Persons of legal standing include anyone that was mentioned, or anyone that should have been mentioned, in the will.

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Why are wills typically contested in probate court?
on the grounds of fairness
due to omissions
disapproval of the executor chosen
Wills cannot be contested on the grounds of fairness or due to omission of assets or possessions from the will. A beneficiary may contest a will if the beneficiary does not approve of the executor that was chosen.

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Disinheriting family members in a will is fairly common. Which family member is legally protected from being disinherited in a will?
spouse
In all American states, you cannot disinherit your spouse from your will, unless there was a legally binding prenuptial agreement.
child
sibling

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What can make a current will immediately invalid?
divorce
You are advised to create a new will or a legally binding amendment if you divorce your spouse. In some states, an entire will becomes immediately invalid when a divorce occurs.
death of a beneficiary
both of the above

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Who is required to pay estate taxes?
the testator
the beneficiary
The beneficiaries are required to pay all taxes related to money they inherit. Estate taxes can be pretty steep and most wealthy people use various loopholes to prevent their beneficiaries from paying hefty estate taxes.
the estate

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What is a living will?
a will that divides up your assets while you are still alive
a will that dictates your health care wishes
The term living will is a misnomer, as it has nothing to do with assets or possessions. A living will is a document that details your health care wishes in the event that you fall critically ill.
a will that can easily be changed while you are alive

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Living wills are:
difficult to complete and require a lawyer
easy to complete
There are several online forms that you can use to create a living will. They are rather inexpensive to complete. It's very important to complete a living will, especially if you have specific health care wishes.
expensive and unnecessary

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