Law and Wills

What Is A Will?
A Will is a document containing your instructions and wishes as to how your property is to be distributed after your death. It is the expression of your wishes concerning the distribution of your property after death and is generally made up of a written statement, which is signed in compliance with the requirements of the law.

A Will is a legal document and it clearly names the people you want to receive your property and possessions. These people are known as your beneficiaries. Your property and possessions include everything you own, whether it is land, buildings, a home, vehicles, a boat, money in the bank, the proceeds of an insurance policy, shares in companies, jewellery, artwork, or furniture etc.

The best way to ensure your assets will be distributed according to your wishes after your death is to put together a Will. Because no one knows when he/she will die, it is important to have a Will at any age.

About Completing a Will
Most people know that they need to put together a Will sometime before they die.

Unfortunately, the majority of people don’t have a Will. They don’t think about writing up a Will until they are past the age of 50.

Writing a Will doesn’t need to be expensive. Once it is done you can rest easy, knowing that your wishes will be followed after your death. Most Wills can be composed quite simply. Others are more complex and involve more people, substantial assets, and cash. These Wills should be discussed with lawyers who specialise in this area.

While a Will is not critical if you do not possess much (e.g. property for distributions), you may have personal items such as jewellery, manuscripts, or trophies that you want to be left to specific people. Having a Will clarifies this and will save any arguments later on.

If your estate, possession and property are valuable, you should ensure that a Will sets out your wishes and instructions clearly. It might be inconvenient for you to set up a Will while you are alive, but it could save arguments and fighting amongst your beneficiaries.

What Is a Valid Will
A valid Will, is a Will that is accepted by the court.

When the court is satisfied with the Will it will grant probate.

To be valid, your Will

  • Must be in writing
  • Either handwritten, typed or printed
  • Must be signed (with your signature) at the end
  • Should be witnessed by at least 2 people. These witnesses must be present when you sign the Will. They will acknowledge it and must sign it in your presence. They do not have to be together at the same time when signing.
  • Must be made out by someone at least 18 yrs old (with exceptions)

If the Will is not completed in this manner the court may look on it as being unenforceable (they cannot enforce it), in which case the court Will use its discretion to grant or not grant probate. (Probate means - confirming that the Will is valid.)

If this is the case then your property could be disposed of “as if you had not made a Will at all”. This would be done according to the regulations laid down by law. The court has full discretion, and needs to be satisfied that the document setting out your wishes is valid and that the methods set down are how you wanted your assets to be distributed.

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