Writing wills can be tricky business. A Will is a legal document that ensures that your assets are distributed to the people that you care most about or who you think are the most deserving of your assets on your death. It is important to approach this with a sense of clarity, more than emotion, because Wills are often contested. Family members and distant relatives fight over money and property so much that it has become a cliché.
In this instance, it is important that your Will is compliant with the law and takes into account all the hurdles that may hinder your assets flowing to the right people. Here are a few rules to help you in writing your will.
State that all previous promises or mentions of leaving your assets to anyone are null and void. This makes it so that your will supersedes any previous documents you have signed or promises that you have made to relatives, friends, loved ones, etc.
It is important to name an executor who will carry out the instructions set out in your Will. If you leave this ambiguous, there won’t be a clear choice for someone to make sure your wishes are taken care of. Most people name their spouses as their executors, but you can name another relative you are close to such as a brother or a sister, a capable friend, a competent lawyer or even a colleague that you have established a strong bond with.
You must identify each and every person who is to receive a benefit from your Will. This includes your children and your spouse as well as any friends or relatives who you wish to leave any small possessions. Spouses are generally entitled to an ‘elective share’ of your property, so bear in mind that if you want to shut them out of the Will, they are protected by the law.
You need to name someone to take care of your children. In the event that your spouse is still alive after you pass, the responsibility obviously falls on them. However, if they are incapable of performing this duty for any reason, someone else can be selected.
Each and every asset you own needs to be given away. You can break them up as you choose. For instance you can give equal shares of your money to your children and spouse. However, you can give different possessions you own, such as coin collections and paintings to specific relatives.
While writing a Will it is imperative that you sign it. Writing a Will is useless if it does not bear a symbol or signature that denotes that you wrote it.
If you have witnesses that can testify you wrote the Will and that you were of sound body and sound mind, the Will is more likely to be legally binding.
If you are in debt, it will be taken from your Will. Make sure that you set aside a certain amount to be paid in case you pass before the debt is paid.
Writing a Will is only half the challenge. If your family cannot find it, what good is it? Make sure you tell a close relative, friend or loved one where it is. If possible, give them the key or password to access it as well.
It is a good idea to subject the Will to amendments under certain situations. For instance, if one of the heirs dies or if they commit a betrayal or an unforgivable crime, they can be left out of the Will.