Today we often refer to someone's last will and testament as their will. In early times, these were two separate legal documents to express the person's wishes of how they wished their property disposed of after their death. A will pertained to the disposition of real property and a testament to the disposition of personal property.
This document also names who they wish to look after the disposition of their estate -- the executor or executrix (female).
Some wills are very straight forward, while others are complex and it often helps to chart out the information to figure out who gets what and what limitations are put on the bequest (what they are receiving). Some wording is repetitive.
As I prepare, my presentation, I am finding it quite helpful to transcribe the text so that I can focus on all of the details of the will. I am using Transcript so that I can view the image and the text I am typing at the same time.
Not everyone dies with a will, so sometimes that complicates things but sometimes that produces some more useful documents.
© 2010 Janet Iles