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Making certain by the use of a will, that your most valued assets end in the hands you intended

Giving a precise and desired destination to the assets accumulated throughout your life, is the fundamental purpose of the will or testament, which reflects the last wishes a person determines after his/her death.

“The will is the safest  instrument to distribute money, properties, business, objects, vehicles, etc, between family members, friends or a person close to you. Its importance lies on providing to the people that you care about”, says Arturo Blanco, senior partner at Jurex Law.

The Costa Rican legal system deals with the issue of Estates  (destination received by the assets of a deceased person) by means of open and closed wills.

The open will is the most effective way to bequeath

The open will is the best way to declare who you will inherit your general and specific assets; for example, determine that a paint should be delivered directly to a close friend.

An open will that follows Costa Rican laws has to be developed under certain guidelines:

  • It is prepared by a notary public and before three witnesses
  • Needs to be written on a public deed
  • Indicates if the distribution includes all of the assets or only some of these; if you are bequeathing specific assets; who are the heirs and what they receive
  • Clarifies the will executor chosen by the person to be responsible for managing the assets until they reach their final destination (the heirs). If the person do not elect an executor must indicate that on the will
  • On a will you can also specify what happens if an heir doesn’t fulfill certain parameters (taking care of a family member, studying, graduating at certain age, etc.)
  • Once written and signed by all parties, the original will is send to the Archivo Nacional (National Archives) for its safekeeping

Closed will: written directly by its owner

The closed will is elaborated by the person, normally, handwritten. Among its features are:

  • Once written and in the presence of a notary public, the person puts the will in a  sealed envelope
  • The notary seals the envelope with a special wax seal to be open only in the presence of a judge, to avoid the document to be manipulated by others

Unlike the open will that lies at the Archivo Nacional until is needed, the closed will can be lost among the belongings of its owner and thus the initiative to bequeath the assets as he/she wants.

Remember that the most important thing to do is to hold a meeting with your lawyer, so your testament will answer all your needs and desires.

Do you want to know what happens when a person dies without leaving a will? And, in that case, who are the family members located at the top of the succession chain? We invite you to follow our blog because those will be our next issues to discuss.

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