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Wills and Probate

Why is Making a Will so Important?

There are 2 main reasons why a person should consider making a Will. First of all, most people feel it’s important to make a Will if they have financial assets. This is because a Will allows you to clearly set out how these assets are to be divided.

The second main reason is about looking after your dependants. These include children, a spouse, and also any dependent adults you care for. Making a Will has the effect of not only providing financially for dependants. It can also appoint others to step into your shoes, to care for your dependants.

Regardless of your circumstances, a Will creates certainty as to how your assets will be divided. It also makes things clearer and more straight forward for those you leave behind. As a result, it also gives the person making the will great peace of mind. Furthermore, it gives control. This includes control over assets and control over taxation matters, which must always be carefully thought through.

The Key Components In Making A Will

First a word of caution – this section applies to making a general will, and may not apply to everyone’s set of circumstances! However, in general a Will carries out the following functions:

  • It will revoke previous wills
  • You can name the Executor(s) of your estate, the person who will be responsibility for making sure the will is followed
  • You can name Guardians for children, if required
  • A Will provide for financial legacies and property bequests – dictate how you divide your financial assets

What Happens If I Don’t Make a Will?

Without a will, a person is deemed to have died intestate. Consequently, strict rules under Inheritance Law then apply to the division and distribution of your assets, over which you have no control. These rules prioritise a spouse and children, and provide that a spouse will inherit 2 thirds. The remaining 1 third is divided among children. Where there is no spouse or children, then a deceased persons parents, siblings or indeed nieces and nephews may inherit. Again, there are strict strict rules of division.

What Are the Advantages of Making a Will?

The main advantages of making a will – at any age, in any circumstance – are control, certainty, and peace of mind. The person making the will has full control over how their assets are divided. You can clearly state your wishes and directions. This leads to absolute certainty for those left behind.

It is vital that sound legal advice is taken, as no single situation is the same as another. Making a Will also has certain technical requirements in terms of the content and structure of the document. There are also requirements about the method of completion, which if ignored, can make the Will invalid. As a result, this can lead to unforeseen complications and unnecessary cost.