So, you want to make a will?
At de Groots wills and estates lawyers, we aim to make the process of preparing your will as simple as possible.
You may have seen on our website the section entitled “Start Your Will Online“? We encourage you to click on that link and answer the various questions it asks.
But what if you are not yet at that stage?
What if you, before completing the form, want to take some time to consider your response, or learn more?
If so, please let us briefly tell you more about wills. We hope this will assist you.
What is a will?
A will is a document in which you state who gets what you own after you die, and the basis upon which it is to be given. There are three crucial features in any will: your executors, your beneficiaries, and your gifts to them. And if you have young children, a fourth feature is that your will can appoint guardians for them.
Who and what are your executors?
The people you entrust to look after your property upon your death are known as your executors. You can appoint one executor or several, and you can appoint individuals or businesses.
The role of an executor is to obtain court approval of your will – known as probate – and, most importantly, do what is necessary to ensure that your property is given to your beneficiaries, in accordance with your will.
You need to consider carefully who to appoint. You might wish to appoint your spouse, partner, or children, or a trusted friend, or a combination of them. The most important thing to ask yourself is who would you trust to look after your money now? He, she, or they, should be your executors.
Who should be your beneficiaries?
This is the most important part of your will: who gets what. Your beneficiaries can be your spouse, partner, children, other family members, or friends. A charity or company can also be a beneficiary. The most important thing is to ask yourself who deserves your property and why. He, she, or they should be your beneficiaries.
What are your gifts?
You also need to consider what property to give to your beneficiaries?
Does one person get everything?
If not, how is your property to be divided among your beneficiaries?
Is it a percentage, or a set amount?
Should one beneficiary be given, say, a house, or shares or other property?
Or is such property to be sold and the proceeds divided between beneficiaries in some proportion?
Or do you want your property to be put into a trust, and paid in accordance with the trust?
Do you want to specify the age when an infant beneficiary can take his or her gift?
Again the most important thing to ask yourself is: if you were to give your property away now, to whom would you give it to?
Your appointment of guardians for infant beneficiaries
The law allows you to appoint guardians to be responsible for the welfare of your infant beneficiaries. (We can provide you a guidance document to assist the guardian to know your wishes for your children)
We suggest that you carefully consider the above questions, and then feel free to click on the section “Start Your Will Online“. Hopefully, by answering these questions, the task of completing the form can be made easier, and you can be well on your way to completing your will, knowing that you have been able to consider what is required.