With LawPath’s step-by-step guide to creating Wills, the administration of your property and assets (the ‘estate’) according to your wishes will be certified. LawPath’s convenient and affordable Online Will puts these wishes into effect. This can be done in under 15 minutes and is highly customisable to suit your needs. The remainder of this article will explore what is a will, why it is important and how it can be made in greater detail.
What is a Will?
The Will is the legal document that establishes how your property and assets will be divided after passing away. It is different from a family trust which takes effect as soon as you create it. The creation of a Will is a necessary and positive step in creating a legal document that establishes:
- Any specific assets you would like to give to a person (called a ‘beneficiary’).
- The person who you would like to carry out your wishes (called an ‘executor’).
- Any further instructions you may have (such as any preference of who will be the guardian of your children).
Why do I need a Will?
Creation of a Will ensures peace of mind that your loved ones will receive the assets according to the matter in which you have instructed. Failure to create a legal Will may result in:
- The government distributing your assets according to a fixed formula, potentially passing your personal property into government ownership, if there are no surviving relations;
- Costly and timely court applications by family or friends to appoint an executor.
- Disputes among family and friends as to the intention of the deceased.
What Are the Steps I Must Take When Creating My Will?
To ensure that your Will is valid it is essential that you follow the steps outlined below.
- Download the LawPath Online Will;
- Fill in the document using the easy to use online interview;
- Access your customised Will on your MyLawPath and read over it;
- Date the Will;
- Ensure that two or more witnesses are present when you plan on signing your Will. A witness must not be a beneficiary (a person who will receive an asset from the will in question);
- In the presence of the witnesses, sign at the bottom of every page and initial any alterations that have been made;
- In the presence of the Will-maker and each other, the witnesses should sign at the bottom of every page and initial any alterations. Use the same pen, as it is evidence of the Will being signed at the same time;
- Witnesses should print their names and addresses below their signatures;
- Store the Will in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box in a bank. Your MyLawPath account will have a digital copy to refer to;
- Label any copies of the Will with ‘Copy: Original Kept at…’
- The names of the Will-maker and the Witnesses must be printed on any copies. Copies should be kept with the Will-maker and the executor.
Following these steps can provide peace of mind that your property and assets will be distributed as intended after you pass away. A failure to follow these steps may result in grounds to challenge the will. The law will in effect rewrite the will where it sees that someone who was close to the deceased who should have been provided for in their will has not been. Taking care in creating the will and periodically reviewing the document after major life events is therefore an important part of making a will.