Draft a Will with your Requirements

Writing a Will
You can draft up a will if you are adult and of sound mind. If your requirements are relatively simple you should be able to make the will yourself. Most people get their lawyers or a trustee company to draw up their wills and the cost is usually small.

If you are going to write up a will and you need outside help, choose someone experienced in this area. Don’t assume they know exactly what you want and that they will draft the will according to your wishes. The will has to be written, dated and signed in the presence of two witnesses who must also sign it. These witnesses cannot be your spouse or beneficiaries. Make sure your instructions are clear and in plain English.

You should state the following:

  • It is your final will and revokes any previous wills and codicils.
  • It states who your executors and trustees are.
  • It states how your estate is to be distributed.
  • It contains the full names of your beneficiaries and their relationship to you.
  • It states what should happen if any of your beneficiaries die before you.
  • It sets out how your funeral is to be conducted.
  • It contains any other special instructions that you want to include.

Can I Write up a Will Myself?
You can make up your own will if you wish. Standard forms for wills are available from stationery stores. If your will is complex it may not be in your best interest to draft it yourself. You may need to see your lawyer or a trustee company so that your will is correct and according to your wishes.

Unfortunately too many homemade wills are unclear and this can result in loss to the estate at a later date (e.g. a tax liability that should not have arisen). If a will is unclear it may have to be tested in court and this can drag on for many years, causing a lot of distress and falling out between family members and others involved.

Remember that your will is a very important legal document. If you die you won’t be around to explain your intentions. In that case it would be left to the court to interpret. It would also leave an opening for anyone who feels they are disadvantaged to contest the Will. This means that the cost of litigation and time involved in the courts can take a lot of money belonging to the estate.

What should your Will Include?
Your will should contain the following:

  • Your name, as the testator.
  • The name of your spouse and date of marriage.
  • The name of your children.
  • The fact that this Will revokes all previous Wills.
  • The name of your executor or executors.
  • Details of provision you want to make for your dependants.
  • Details of how your assets and estate are to be disposed of.
  • The names of guardians of your children, if necessary.
  • Any special gifts you want to make.
  • Details of powers you want to give to your executors.
  • If your beneficiaries are children, specify how old they have to be before they inherit their share.
  • Include any special instructions regarding your funeral, including what is to happen to your remains.