October 17, 2021

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Word + Quiz: testator

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: a person who has made a last will and testament

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The word testator has appeared in three articles on NYTimes.com in the past six years, including on May 21, 2019, in “Did Aretha Franklin Leave Her Will Under the Couch Cushion?” by Ben Sisario and Steve Friess:

When Aretha Franklin died last year, her family said that she had left no will. But, as it turns out, she may have left a few of them.

In a court filing on Monday, the personal representative of Ms. Franklin’s estate disclosed that three handwritten documents had been discovered just weeks ago at Ms. Franklin’s home — one in a spiral notebook under her sofa cushions, the others in a locked cabinet — and asked a Michigan probate judge to decide whether any of them are valid wills.

…. Kenneth J. Abdo, an entertainment lawyer in Minneapolis, said the documents appeared to show Ms. Franklin’s intentions, and might satisfy a Michigan law that stipulates the following conditions for a “holographic,” or handwritten will: that it need only be dated and signed, and that “the document’s material portions” must be “in the testator’s handwriting.”

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