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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
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Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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Can you tell me if the word "possessions", in a handwritten

Resolved Question:

Can you tell me if the word "possessions", in a handwritten final document (holographic will?), in North Dakota, includes financial assets ( stock portfolios, 401k plans, bank accounts) in addition to physical/real possessions (cars, land, furniture, clothing etc)?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 10 months ago.

Dwayne B. :

Hello and thank you for contacting Just Answer. I am an expert here and I look forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.

Dwayne B. :

Do you have the exact language to put this into context?

Dwayne B. :

There is no specific legal definition that would apply in a case like this so the judge would make a determination based on context.

Customer: My elderly uncle died in June 2013. When his body was discovered, found among his belongings was a handwritten paper, signed by him, leaving "all my possessions" to a party outside the family. It became clear as a protective services group that was called in before any family was identified that he had financial assets in a stock portfolio and a 401k plan, neither of which had beneficiaries listed. My uncle never married and had no children, but he does still have a sister ( quite elderly) living, and several nieces and nephews. Anyhow, I was wondering if you had any idea what "possessions" really means in North Dakota.
Dwayne B. :

As I said, there is no specific legal definition. If he simply said "all my possessions" and nothing else then the court would find that it included all of his property. However, if he identified some kinds of property specifically and just ended up with a final sentence that said "and all other possessions" the court would most likely find that it was meant to include only personal possessions.

Dwayne B. :

Do you have the exact language used throughout the document?

Customer: It was a one sentence document, saying simply, I leave all my possessions to St Michael's Church. His signature ( which I know to be his) was written below
Dwayne B. :

If that is all it is then it is likely going to include everything he owned.

Customer: Ok, thanks
Dwayne B. :

Just one sec, let me check on something.

Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 26821
Experience: Began practicing law in 1992
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Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 10 months ago.
Thank you very much for the Positive Rating. Please come back and visit us if you have any new questions and feel free to ask for me by placing “FOR DWAYNE B” in the subject line or as the first words of your question and I will pick up as soon as I see it.

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