10 things you need to know about a will
Many people think that they can simply tell their parents, spouse or friend that they will inherit their possessions if they die. However if one dies without a will or “intestate”, there are set rules that a court will apply to the estate.
Dying without a will has major implications for both the deceased person as well as the family they leave behind. So if you don’t want to leave your possessions to the brother that tied you to trees and sold your favourite guitar It’s time to draw up a will.
- In short a will can be defined as a legal document, that contains the wishes of the person making it (aged 16 years or older) regarding the distribution of the assets in their estate on their death.
- You are required to be mentally competent when you create the will. In other words you must be able to understand the consequences of creating a will and be in a reasonable state of mind and remember what you own.
- For a will to be valid you must make sure that the will is in writing.
- Two people older than 14 must witness a will (these witnesses cannot be beneficiaries of the will).
- You and the witnesses must initial every page of the will and sign the last page.
- In your will you can, appoint an executor, divide up your assets and appoint a guardian for your children .If you don’t appoint a guardian, the state will decide who they go to-that’s enough of a reason right there to get cracking on your will.
- An executor is the person that will make sure that your property is divided up according to your will. The executor also settles your outstanding debts. If you don’t choose an executor, the court will appoint someone, usually a family member to be your executor.
- The executor has to be residing in the country at the time of your death. You cannot always control this so it is better to name two executors.
- Getting experts to draw up the will and amend it annually can prevent conflicts from occurring. For example if an individual has a life policy and they have named a spouse as the beneficiary, but later divorces and remarries, he may name his new wife in his will as the beneficiary thinking that it will supersede the policy. An expert would pick up this mistake instantly and require him to chance the beneficiary on the policy as well.
- Using an expert to manage your will also ensures that it is always in a safe place and readably available.