If I am the executor for my father’s estate, how do I interpret his Will?

UPDATED: Nov 20, 2013

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If I am the executor for my father’s estate, how do I interpret his Will?

His Will states, “To my sons (and it list the four sons names) an amount equal to 45% of my said residuary estate to be divided equally among them share and share alike or to the survivor or survivors. I have a question about the survivor part. Now 1 of the 4 names has died since my dad wrote the Will, so does survivors mean the 3 surviving sons or does it mean the surviving spouse of the dead son?

Asked on November 20, 2013 under Estate Planning, North Carolina


Nathan Wagner / Law Office of Nathan Wagner

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It probably means the assets should be divided between the 3 surviving sons. However, every state has its own laws about how to interpret wills, so you would need to talk to a probate lawyer in the state where your father lived. Furthermore, the lawyer would have to look at the rest of your father's will to see whether it contains anything to help understand what the will means by the word "survivors."

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