A will is a legal document that gives details of how you want your assets to be distributed after you die. It enables you to select your beneficiaries and also allows you to choose the executor of your estate. But, above all, a will represents financial peace of mind to those you leave behind.
It’s not just about the money …
A will is not just about distributing any money you leave behind. A valid will records your wishes to:
- Distribute your assets
- Appoint guardians to care for minor children
- Protect inheritance of children under 18
- Specify the type of funeral you would like
- Give permission for organ donation etc.
Dying without a will
If you die without having a valid will, the term used for this is dying intestate. If you don’t have a valid will, it could take years for your estate to be sorted out. In the meantime, your bank accounts will be frozen and your family may struggle to access cash. Even worse, the state will decide how your assets are divided and anyone can lay a claim to your assets.
What is a valid will?
- Must be created ‘in sound mind’
- Must include your signature at the end of the will
- Must be witnessed i.e. two witnesses acknowledge your signature and witnesses sign the will in your presence
- Must contain your ID number and marital status
- Ensure you revoke previous wills
- Make sure you appoint an executor
Tools to help you draft a will
Read more about drafting a will
Mistakes to avoid when drafting a will
If you have a will, you’ll have the last word on what should happen to the fruits of all your hard work when you are gone, right? Not quite… make sure you avoid these five common mistakes.
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