What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document that states who will receive your estate when you pass away. Your estate is everything that you own.
Do I need a Will?
The short answer is ‘yes’ it is advisable to have a Will. If you die without making a Will it means you die ‘intestacy’ and your estate is distributed in accordance with legislation which dictates who gets your estate. This may cause your family unnecessary emotional stress and financial hardship.
How do I make a Will?
There is no one answer about how to do your Will. It all depends on your assets, your circumstances and who your Beneficiaries will be.
You need to make a Will that makes your wishes clear, that avoids confusion and conflict amongst your loved ones, and that is legally valid and binding. Doing this will protect your family and friends from costly and stressful legal disputes.
What is an Executor of a Will?
You appoint an Executor in your Will. After you die your Executor has the legal and administrative task of sorting out your assets and debts and making sure that your wishes as stated in the Will are upheld.
What is a Beneficiary?
A Beneficiary is a person or entity (eg. a charity) that receives a gift or benefit from a person’s estate when they die.
You can designate anyone as a Beneficiary and distribute your assets in any way you like, however if you do not provide for your family and dependants, your Will can be contested.
You also should consider the effects that an inheritance may have on your Beneficiaries. In some cases a testamentary trust can sidestep potential taxation problems, so it’s important that you get specific advice about your situation.
How do you know a Will is valid?
To be valid, the person making the Will must be mentally competent, the Will must be in writing and correctly signed and witnessed. The witnesses to the Will cannot be Beneficiaries, or related to Beneficiaries and must be over 18.
How often should I review my Will?
You should certainly review your Will after any major events, such as marriage, divorce, property purchase or sale, death of a beneficiary or if your assets change significantly. We also recommend that you take a look at your Will every couple of years just to make sure that it is still the best instrument for you and for your family.