The “suicide note” is legally completely meaningless
In the case of the apparent suicide attempt of Mr. Ennosuke Ichikawa, it has been reported that what appears to be a suicide note was found in Mr. Ennosuke’s room. This will was initially reported as a “last will and testament,” but it was later declared to be a “suicide note. What is the difference between “will” and “testament”?
A “last will and testament” is a document written after one’s death for the purpose of creating a change of rights, such as recognition, designation of inheritance shares, or bequests, and is prepared in a prescribed form.
This is a formalized document,” says Mr. Tomoho Endo, a lawyer.
According to Endo, there are two types of wills: a “self-written will” written entirely by the testator’s own hand and a “notarized will” prepared by a notary public.
So, are all other types of wills considered “wills”?
In general, a will is like a letter written by a deceased person to those left behind, but legally, there is no such thing as a will,” he said. Even if a will contains wishes regarding inheritance, if it is not dated, signed, and sealed, it has no legal effect as a will.
Without a “Last Will and Testament,” the wishes of the deceased will not be reflected.
However, life can also bring unexpected calamities. For example, when the ship you are on is about to sink.
In such a case, you can use what is called a Critical Will. However, it is rarely used because of the practical difficulties involved, such as the need for two or more witnesses and the fact that the witnesses must be alive.
It is true that the person who is to be a witness is in danger of death. It does not seem very realistic.
Even if there are no witnesses, or even if there is no formal will, if there is a written will that says, “I want to leave this much to this person,” does it reflect the wishes of the deceased at all?
In the absence of a will, all the heirs would have to discuss the division of the estate among themselves. If all the heirs discussed the matter and decided to respect the wishes of the deceased, it would be possible. However, if even one person objects, it is not possible. If there is a dispute, the division of the estate will be in accordance with the legal inheritance share.
If someone really wants to leave an inheritance to someone else, the only way to do so is to prepare a will.
If you have “people you want to pass on” and “people you don’t want to pass on,” make a will.
When you are in your 30s or 40s, the word “will” doesn’t really ring a bell. How old should you start preparing a will?
If you have been married many times and your first wife has children, you should prepare a will even in your 30s or 40s if you want to leave a lot to your current children.
That and if there are heirs you really don’t want to pass on. For example, if you are not married and have no children, your parents will be your heirs. If your parents or grandparents are also already dead, your siblings will be your heirs. If you are not on good terms with your parents or siblings and there is someone you do not want to pass it on to, we recommend that you be prepared.”
There are people you want to pass on, and there are people you don’t want to pass on. In such cases, he says, it is a good idea to prepare them as soon as possible.
If the relatives are not on bad terms with each other and they want to inherit legally, is there any need for a will?
If the couple has no children and the husband dies, the estate will be inherited by the wife and the husband’s parents. Even if they were on good terms during their lives, there are cases where they fight over the inheritance.
If you have a wish to leave this much to this person, it is better to write a will. You can make your own written will, or you can leave it with the legal affairs bureau. I think it is a good idea to leave it that way.”
In addition, if the child is a minor under the age of 18, he or she must have a special representative in order to inherit, which is time-consuming. In order to avoid this hassle, it is a good idea to leave a will to the wife (husband) so that she (he) inherits everything.
He said, “I am sure your environment and feelings will change as the years go by. We recommend that you review your will on a regular basis, such as once a year, because it is something that you can update.
As long as it is in good form, he says, a sketchbook or report card will do.
You should make a “property list” for those who will be left behind.
Even if you do not write a will, there are some things you should do, according to Dr. Endo.
In some cases, couples who work together, pay only their living expenses, and have separate savings accounts do not know which bank account their partner has. If one of them suddenly dies and you don’t know where everything is, you have to contact each bank one by one.
When it comes to inheritance, each of you should make a list of your property and tell your partner just where it is.
In an age when online banks with no bankbooks and paperless systems are the norm, even if you leave home in good health, you never know what might happen while you are away from home. It would be a good idea to at least do this.
Tomoho Endo is an attorney. Belongs to Berry Best Law Office. Handles civil cases, focusing on divorce and inheritance issues.
Interview and text by： Izumi Nakagawa