What Is Meant by Share and Share-Alike in a Will?

By Teo Spengler

Some legal terms carry their own peculiar definition but others mean exactly what they seem to mean. The expression share and share alike means the same thing in a will that it does on the playground: everyone who is included in the group at the time of distribution gets an equal share of the object or assets in question.

Some legal terms carry their own peculiar definition but others mean exactly what they seem to mean. The expression share and share alike means the same thing in a will that it does on the playground: everyone who is included in the group at the time of distribution gets an equal share of the object or assets in question.

Drafting Wills

A will is a legal document in which a person describes who she wants to have her assets when she dies. Bequests in a will can leave all property to one specified person or you may divide assets between two or more individuals. If an item such as a ring or a car is left in equal shares to more than one person, it is generally sold and the proceeds are divided equally.

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Equal Shares

When the person making a will wants two or more persons to have equal shares in an asset or in the entire estate, she can use the term "share and share alike." For example, a will-maker might leave a bank account to "my three daughters, share and share alike." This indicates that each of the daughters gets one-third of the money in the account. If one daughter dies before the person who created the will, in most jurisdictions the two remaining daughters will split the money.

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Stages of Living Trust Distribution

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Tennessee Estate Laws

Tennessee's estate laws govern how a person's property, collectively known as the estate, is to be divided upon his death. Tennessee law sets forth the requirements for a valid will, but if a person doesn't have a will, the law contains intestacy provisions, setting forth the order in which his heirs may inherit. Tennessee law will protect a deceased's spouse if she is disinherited.

Estate Law on Heirs

The term "heir apparent" is sometimes used to signify the person chosen to succeed the boss in a business, but this distorts the legal meaning. An heir is a person who inherits property after a death if the decedent did not leave a will. In all states, surviving spouses and children top the list.

Can the Provisions in a Will Trump a Premarital Agreement?

Generally, a premarital agreement trumps a will rather than the other way around, but there are exceptions. Most state laws prohibit a spouse from disinheritance unless there is a specific agreement -- such as a prenup -- between husband and wife where each waives their right to inherit. The provisions of a will can trump a prenuptial agreement only if the intent of the will to revoke or modify the prenumptial agreement is clear.

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