What is a Will? It is a legal document or a signed letter left by the deceased giving instructions on what should happen after his/her death and how the estate should be divided. We all know we should have one, but often do not understand why. What happens without a Will? Making a Will is the only way to ensure that your wishes are carried out after your death. If you have not made a valid Will, your property will pass on according to the law of intestacy. This may not be what you would have wished.
It is also likely to take longer to finalise your estate than if you had made a Will. During this time your beneficiaries may not be able to draw any money from your estate. It can mean arguments and distress for relatives.
Matters to consider If you are single, you will want your estate divided amongst friends, relatives and charities of your choosing and in the proportions you want. If you are married, don't assume "my other half will get everything". Brothers and sisters or parents may have a claim.
Often you children have a right to part of your estate. If you are living as a couple but not officially married, you may be treated as a single person and a surviving partner may get nothing at all. One thing you can be certain of - there will be argument and dispute at a time when the family should be coping with the loss of a loved one. If you are a parent, you should consider who would look after your children in the event of your death. This is particularly important in the case of one parent families or unmarried parents living together.
A valid Will nominating guardians is invaluable in such cases. If no one knows what you would have wanted, the Court will decide on the future of your children, and it may not be what you or your children would have wished. If you are retired, maybe you made a Will a long time ago.
It probably needs updating to include additional grandchildren or deletion of persons you no longer feel you wish to leave anything to. Whatever your circumstances, making a Will is a good way to ensure that your wishes are carried out. What are you waiting for? .
By: Sharon Hurley Hall