A will is the only means to ensure that your estate is distributed according to your wishes. Consider it a necessity – especially if you have children, more than one marriage, or large number of dependants.
Why do I need a Will?
A Will may be the most important document that you ever write, because it allows you to select the people who will receive what you own when you pass away. Without a Will, the state will determine how your property is divided. The court system will distribute your assets to identified beneficiaries, but there is no guarantee that this will be fair and it could lead to inheritance disagreements. Dying intestate (without a Will), means it would be necessary to compile a list of your assets after you pass away - in addition to identifying beneficiaries of the assets. The downside is that until this administration process is complete, assets cannot be distributed, even to those beneficiaries who have already been identified – meaning your loved ones may not be able to access the funds they need.
Who can make a Will?
Any person, except minors (under the age of 16) and persons of unsound mind are capable of making a Will. A person who has made a valid will is known as a Testator. By drafting this important document you will ensure that your belongings will go to your chosen beneficiaries upon your death.
Your Will check list
- Legal Declaration: The documents purporting to be a Will must be in legal form, in other words, it must conform with the law and must be executed by a person legally competent to make it.
- Disposition of Property: The declaration should relate to disposition of property of the person making the Will.
- Death of the Testator: The declaration as regards the disposal of the property must be intended to take effect after the Testator’s death.
- Revocability: The essence of every Will is that it is revocable during the lifetime of the Testator. In other words, the Testator can change who the beneficiaries are without having to get their consent.
- Execution: An unsigned Will is worthless and its contents are not enforceable. Consequently, it is important for a Will to be duly signed by the Testator in the presence of at least two witnesses; and by the witnesses in the presence of the Testator.
Advantages of having a Will
- Distribution of your assets will not be left to the courts or relatives;
- It protects your Estate from distribution according to customary law;
- It enables you appoint executors who will act in accordance with your wishes;
- After the death of an executor, there would be no need for fresh grant of Letters of Administration.