It is never too early (you are never too young) to write your will. We can never be certain when our life will end. While some might live to a ripe old age, life could throw you unexpected situations, which could cause your unexpected passing. The last thing you would want is, in the event of your passing, your loved ones aren’t properly looked after. Rather be prepared and let that be your final act of kindness to your loved ones.
We know that writing a will can be daunting, however, if you don’t know where to start. Because of this, we want to provide you with a checklist that will help you to understand how to write a will. That is, how to write a will that is legally valid and makes things as easy as possible for those you will one day leave behind.
How to write a will
- Put your will in writing. It must be handwritten or typed. (Legally required for a valid will).
- Ensure that you have two witnesses to your will. They must be over the age of 14 and able to give evidence in court. A witness may not be the executor of the estate, a trustee or beneficiary of the will. If a witness is a beneficiary of the will, the will is still legally valid, but the witness will automatically be disinherited from the will. (Legally required for a valid will).
- Ensure that your documents are signed. You and your witnesses must sign your will just below the text on every page. The signing must be done in one another’s presence. (Legally required for a valid will).
- Include a revocation of all previous wills. If you do not do this, all existing wills will be read together and this could lead to contradictions and resulting confusion.
- Ensure that your intentions are clearly stated in the will. The executor should not be in any doubt as to who inherits what. If you are uncertain whether your will is clear enough, perhaps get someone to read it through to assess its clarity.
- Include the date and place of signing the will. This way, if more than one will exists, it is easy to determine which will is the most recent and therefore the applicable document.
- Name your executor. The executor is the person appointed to ensure that all of the wishes within the will are carried out. Often, your executor will be someone close to you who you can trust to capably carry out your final wishes. However, there are many varying factors that must be considered in choosing an executor. We recommend consulting a legal professional for advice on this point.
- Make a wish list. You can include in your will a document that states your wishes around resuscitation if you are in a coma, and any deathbed wishes such as burial or cremation of your body.
- Tell someone about your will. Ensure that at least your attorney and executor are aware of the location of your will. It would be pretty difficult for your loved ones to carry out your final wishes if they cannot find those wishes.
- When in doubt, seek clarity. Get advice from an attorney if you are uncertain about any point. Rather be safe and protect your loved ones.
If you need legal advice in creating a will, do not hesitate to contact [email protected].