Preparing a Will
Why Make A Will?
By making a Will you ensure that after your death your assets are distributed to whom and the way you want. Only by having a Will can you be certain this will happen.
Who May Make A Will?
Any person over the age of 18 can make a Will and it can be altered at any time. In certain very limited circumstances a person under the age of 18 can make a Will.
Am I required to have a Will?
No, but it is strongly recommended to ensure your wishes are met after your death and to protect your loved ones. Without a Will, the Administration and Probate Act will apply. Your spouse and dependent children will not automatically be entitled to your whole Estate, which can cause them significant financial hardship.
Can I make a Will myself?
Yes, but it is not advisable. This includes the ‘do-it-yourself’ Will option, because there is no one to help you navigate the legal requirements which must be fully observed. If there is a mistake or any ambiguities, the Court may need to interpret the intent, which can be costly and may not reflect your wishes.
Should I review or renew my Will?
Yes, you should review your Will every two to three years and as soon as any personal circumstances change. This may include the birth of children or grandchildren, the death of a beneficiary or Executor, a large windfall, land purchase or sale, marriage, separation or divorce.
Are there rules about who I can leave my Estate to?
You can give your Estate to whomever you wish. However, if your decision results in financial hardship for a spouse, child, someone in your family who may have special needs, or (under certain circumstances) another relative, then the Court could award them part of the Estate under the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act. Careful consideration when writing your Will can assist in avoiding the Will being contested after your death
What is an Executor?
The Executor is responsible for looking after your Estate after your death. This means gathering the assets of the Estate, paying any debts, and ensuring the terms of your Will are carried out lawfully. You can appoint a family member, trusted friend, professional advisor or a trustee company. An Executor can be a beneficiary and they do not need legal or business expertise, as a lawyer can guide them through the process.
What are the costs of administering the Estate?
Upon your death your Executor will typically instruct a lawyer to administer your Estate on their behalf. The costs are payed by the Estate and will vary depending on complexity, but typically are less than 1% of the total value of the Estate.
Can I appoint a Trustee Company?
Yes, but it adds an unnecessary cost to your estate. Trustee Companies often charge a sliding scale of costs to Administer your estate, which can total over 6% of the value of the Estate. The services of a Trustee Company are not necessary when you have a lawyer guiding you for a much small cost.