Testator - Testatrix

Definition of "Testator - testatrix"

Rodham Kenner real estate agent
Rodham Kenner, Real Estate Agent RE/MAX Realty One

The definition of a testator in real estate is an individual who makes or leaves a valid will detailing how their possessions are to be divided or distributed among their heirs. The testator can refer to anyone, regardless of whether the person is living or dead, so long as their will is valid.

The definition of the term “testator” implies that a testator is an individual, in this case, male, that completes a will that is valid at the time of his death. If the individual would not have terminated a will by his death, the individual is considered to have died intestate. As for the meaning of the word “testatrix”, this is simply the female version of the word, used when describing a woman who had completed and left a will by her death. As the social norm of distinguishing between these genders has become less critical in developing uni-sex/uni-gender representations of occupations such as “police officer” not “policeman”, the gender assigned terms had yet to be replaced by a uni-sex/uni-gender alternative.

Requirements of a testator - testatrix

While people use the term “testator” more commonly, regardless of the gender of the individual, there are specific requirements to be a testator/testatrix if the will is to remain valid after death.

For a will to be valid, the person making it must be of sound mind and multiple witnesses must be present when it is signed.  

  • Sound mind - atestator/testatrix must be in full capacity of their mental faculties at the time when they write the will. For this reason alone, some states demand multiple people be present when the testator signs the will, as witnesses.

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  • Free-will - when a testator/testatrix is writing his/her, they can not, under any circumstances, be victims of coercion from other people that are blood-relations or not with them. If suspicions of persuasion, intimidation, or duress are discovered or if they are not making decisions of their own free will, a court may void the claim stated in the will entirely or in part.

The testator/testatrix’s desire to write a valid will is their right, and their right mustn’t be trifled with or taken away. In real estate, the presence of a will can make a big difference when it comes to possessions of a departed loved one, which is why creating a will is important and everyone should respect it.

Examples of a testator in real estate

Joan is an elderly woman in her mid-eighties. She’s lived a busy life, completing university and earning her master’s degree in applied mathematics. With an active, quick mind and surprisingly healthy body, it’s safe to say she’ll be around a while longer.

After a long career as a researcher at MIT, Joan has amassed a considerable amount of wealth. With two homes, a sizable stock portfolio of several index funds, and a very healthy bank account, Joan’s heirs are poised to become very well off (financially speaking) should anything happen to her.

However, when all seems to be going well, tragedy strikes. Aroutine mammogram reveals that Joan has breast cancer. As a level headed woman of science Joan does not fret unduly but rather sets about the task of putting her things in order, should the worst happen. She calls a notary and prepares to make her will.

After drawing up a plan on how to best distribute her belongings, Joan puts it in writing with the help of a lawyer. After gathering several close friends to serve as witnesses, Joan signs the will into effect, making herself the testator of the will.

In real estate, the testator is most often used to refer to a deceased individual who left behind an inheritance that is being sold or bought. In many cases, this involves a stipulation in the will by the testator that the property is sold and the proceeds distributed among those named in the will.

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