What is a testator?

Question:

What is a Testator?

Answer:

Testator  is the legal term for a person who makes a will. While the term rarely comes up in casual conversation, you’ll still find it used in will documents and in the law itself.  

For example, the signature clause of a will might state:

I, Jacqueline Smith, the  testator, sign my name to this instrument…

You’ll also find the term  testator  in state statutes that deal with will making.   For example,  California Probate Code 6110  uses  testator  several times:

6110.   (a) Except as provided in this part, a will shall be in writing and satisfy the requirements of this section.

(b) The will shall be signed by one of the following:

(1) By the  testator.

(2) In the testator's name by some other person in the  testator's  presence and by the testator's direction.

...

In the past, the term  testatrix  was used to refer to female will makers, but these days,  testator  is used for both men and women.

To learn more about wills and estate planning, go to  Wills, Trusts, and Probate.

To look up other legal terms, go to  Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.

 

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