Our will is not always something we want to think about. However, it can mean the difference between calm and order at the time of our death or complete chaos. Constructing a will when you are of sound mind and able is extremely important. This will help ensure that your wishes are followed through and your possessions are distributed as you want them.
Without a will, your loved ones will be left with the decisions, which could be extremely hard for them following your death, and potentially giving rise to conflict. Creating your will now will give you the peace of mind, knowing that your loved ones do not have to worry about various situations and that your wishes will be followed according to plan.
Do I need a Lawyer to draft my will? A lawyer can construct your will according to your wishes. Bearing in mind that there is a fee attached, so negotiate the fee upfront. You do not necessarily need a lawyer, but this will depend on the complexity of your will. If you have a very straightforward will, then no, an attorney is not necessary. However, if your will is complex, then it would be prudent to consult an attorney to ensure that everything is detailed appropriately and no mistakes are made.
How much does a will cost? Drafting a will by a lawyer will depend on the type of will and how complex it is. Typically, this charge is based on the amount of time needed to construct the will.
Financial advisors, insurance companies and banks usually charge a nominal fee – and sometimes they’ll draft the will at no fee. However, true to the adage “Nothing is for nothing”, getting your will for free is invariably because they insist on being nominated as the executor in the will, and thus will earn from winding up your estate on your death.
What should I include in my will? Your will should include a variety of things:
- An executor
- Reference to Assets (Property, Cash, Stocks, Businesses)
- Specifics on which assets should go to which person by way of a bequest
- Identification of who your heirs are, being the person / people that would inherit the residue of your estate once all bequests have been distributed, and if there are more than one heirs, specify the percentage share that each gets.
Who are Executors? Executors are people you have appointed to take care of the specifics of your will. They will handle making sure the beneficiaries and heirs you have designated get the assets and property as you have described in your will. They will also be responsible for paying any bills, dealing with any outstanding obligations, and ensuring everything goes according to your wishes.
Once I have created my will, where should I keep it? Your will should be kept in a safe place, secure from damage. You could keep a copy with your lawyer, in a safety deposit box, or in a fire safe in your own home. The important thing is to keep it safe and protected from potential harm.
What are the requirements for a valid Will? In order for a will to be valid, there are certain requirements that must be met. The following should be taken into consideration when you are drafting your will:
- you must be of sound mind with the ability to think clearly and make personal decisions
- Two competent witnesses over 16 years of age (NOT being heirs or beneficiaries under the will, or their spouses) must witness you signing the will.
Please note that this information is supplied for general information and does not constitute legal advice. It is advisable for you to contact a legal practitioner for guidance in respect of your unique requirements.