Testator definition: a person who has made a will
There are good reasons for being a testator. Having a will can help ensure you are in charge of who receives your cash and property after you have passed away. It also allows you to choose who will represent you after you are gone as you can choose one or more personal representatives.
(Note: the term “personal representative” is the current legal term used to refer to an executor/executrix, administrator/administratix, and judicial trustee.)
In Alberta, a person is a testator regardless of whether they have written a formal or conventional will, holograph will, or soldiers' will. It does not matter if the will was written by and signed in front of a lawyer or created from a will kit.
The testator may also create a personal directive, also known as a living will, instructing people how he or she wants to be cared for in future medical situations in the event that he or she is not able to communicate.
The testator's wishes may not be fully met even though there is a will. For example, the person appointed as personal representative may refuse to act in that capacity and a new personal representative will have to be appointed.
In addition, wills can be contested and, depending on the unique situation, the court may find that a will needs to be changed. However, in most cases, wills provide testators with a way of ensuring their desires are met after they are deceased.
Acting for the Testator of a Will
If you are a personal representative, you are acting for the testator. After the testator's death, it's your job to apply to the court for a Grant of Probate (when necessary), take control of the testator's assets, pay the testator's debt and taxes as well as the funeral expenses and any expenses related to the administration of the estate, and distribute the estate.
This is a very brief description of the personal representative's role, as there may be many other activities you must carry out in acting for the testator. Do your homework and consult with your estate lawyer.
The testator may have detailed funeral instructions in his or her will. It is the personal representative's duty to make the funeral arrangements. Although the personal representative acts for the testator, he or she is not legally required to follow the testator's instructions regarding the funeral.
The definition of a testatrix is a woman who makes a will. Testatrix was a term used when testator referred to a man who made a will.
Just as society now refers to all actors as actors rather than calling female actors actresses, it is now common to refer to all people who make wills as testators.