A Will should be prepared which expresses your wishes clearly, avoids confusion, and clearly is legally valid and binding and will not be set aside or varied by a Court at a later time.
When preparing a Will consideration needs to be given to what are your assets, your circumstances, who will be your beneficiaries, and what persons may seek at a later time to make a claim on your estate.
In preparing a Will there are a number matters one must consider carefully.
First, who will be your Executors?
The Executor(s) are responsible for ensuring your wishes as noted in your Will are carried out. They have responsibilities which include ensuring that they collect and preserve your assets, pay any outstanding bills or expenses, distribute the assets according to the terms of the Will.
An Executor is normally chosen because they have one or more of the following qualities:
- Experienced and competent in business matters;
- Familiar with your business, finances and property;
- Able and willing to act as your executor;
- Able to spend the time necessary to perform his or her duties;
One can appoint more than one person as an Executor. Persons also may appoint a professional Executor Company.
Second, who will be the beneficiaries and what impact the inheritance will have on their circumstances?
Anyone can be made beneficiary, as you can distribute your assets in any way you like. However, if you do not provide for your family and dependants, they may seek to contest your Will. If the Will is contested then legal costs are usually ordered to be paid from the estate.
Leonidas Lawyers can provide you with advice to minimise such risks or even eliminate such risks. Once you have determined who will be the beneficiaries, then you need to consider what effect the inheritance may have on your beneficiaries. In some cases a testamentary trust can sidestep potential taxation problems, potential spouse conflict, so it’s important that you get specific advice about your situation.
Third, ensure that the Will is valid?
For a Will to be valid the following is necessary:
- the person making the Will must have the mental capacity;
- the Will must be correctly signed and witnessed, and show no evidence of tampering
- the witnesses to the Will cannot be beneficiaries, or related to beneficiaries and must be over 18.
Where there could be any doubt, or even just a potential for dispute as to your mental competence, you should get a doctor’s confirmation of your capacity to make the will and include it with your Will.
Fourth, how often should I review my Will?
When the Will no longer reflects your intentions, usually when there has been a major change in your circumstances. For example, marriage, divorce, death of a beneficiary or if your assets change significantly. In addition it is recommend that you review your Will every couple of years just to make sure it is still the best instrument for you and for your family.
At Leonidas Lawyers we can assist and help.
At Leonidas Lawyers we have knowledge of potential pitfalls. At Leonidas Lawyers we will ask you all the correct and relevant questions so as to ensure you have considered every possibility. We can advise you as to whether you would be best with a Will or a Testamentary Trust. At Leonidas Lawyers the primary aim to ensure your Will is designed in such a way to help protect your family from expensive estate litigation after your death.