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Making a will – Part II

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Many people are of the belief that only rich people make wills. This is a myth because the amount of property owned is irrelevant. If someone dies in a motor vehicular accident and money is recovered for wrongful death, it will be very helpful to know the wishes of the deceased. It may be helpful to note that if a person dies without relatives his possessions could go to the state. {{more}}For those with minor children a will could be helpful to prevent a dispute about who should assume the role of guardian.

Now that you have made up your mind to make a will there are certain things for you to consider. You must remember that you have to be eighteen years and over and of sound mind in order to make a will. It is not unusual for relatives to contest a will of an old relative who left his belongings to a total stranger, on the basis that he lacked the mental capacity to make a will.

You need to make a list of all the worldly goods that you own. These fall into two categories. These are personal and real property. Personal property includes movable goods such as jewellery, cash, vehicles, shares, paintings and furniture among others. Real property includes house, land and easement. You must also list all that you owe such as mortgages and loans. You should approach the person who you want to distribute your property for his permission to be your executor. Only one executor is needed to probate the will but there is no harm in naming more than one. Where there are minor children two executors must be named. Beneficiaries do not have to be present when the will is made but it will be helpful to let them know there is a will and who has possession of it. With the necessary information you can approach a lawyer to draft the document.

Some wills are simple while others are complex. A will must be carefully drafted to make sure that it meets all the requirements of the law. If parts of the will are meaningless or ambiguous the executor would have to approach the court to assist with the interpretation. You are required to sign your will. Your signature must be witnessed by two persons of eighteen years and over. The two persons do not have to be present at the same time. You can sign in the presence of one and acknowledge the signature in the presence of the other. If you make a codicil to change something in your will you need not have the same persons who signed the will to witness your signature. It is not wise for a beneficiary to witness your signature. Although it does not invalidate the will, it could render his/her gift void, in other words, that person could lose the gift. An executor could sign as a witness but not if he is a beneficiary under the will. A creditor of your estate can witness a will. The will must be kept in a safe place because if it is not found after your death it will be presumed that you destroyed it.

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