10 Things You Should Know Before Writing a Will
#1 You Must Have Attained the Age of Majority
No will made by any person under the age of majority is valid. Since there is no specific majority age stated in the Wills Act 1959 reference shall be made to the Age of Majority Act 1971 in which the age of majority provided is 18 years old. As such, you shall only be eligible to write a will when you reach the age of 18.
#2 The Will Must be Signed in the Presence of At Least 2 Witnesses
Every will shall be signed by you as the testator. Your signature shall be made or acknowledged at the presence of 2 or more witnesses.
#3 Your Witness or Their Spouse Shall not Receive Any Gift
Your witness must not be your beneficiary. This limitation extends to their spouses. For example, if your daughter is your beneficiary, thus her husband, must not act as the witness of your will otherwise the gift to your daughter shall be null and void.
#4 Your Executor/Executrix Plays an Important Role, Choose Wisely.
You need someone to carry out your will. An Executor/Executrix will execute your wishes based on your will. He/she has a legal duty to take care of your financial obligation which includes, paying your bills, taxes and debts, closing bank accounts and distributing your properties to your desired beneficiaries as mentioned in your will etc. As such, it is advisable that your executor/executrix knows his/her responsibilities and duties before he/she is appointed to avoid any chaotic situation.
#5 Appointing Guardian for Your Children
If you are a single parent, and your children are below the age of 18, never forget to appoint a guardian to take care of the welfare of your children. Otherwise, the court is obliged to get involved and appoint a guardian for your children. Under such circumstance, your close relative members shall also have the right to apply and be appointed as the guardian for your children.
#6 Will Must be in Written Form
No will shall be valid unless it is in written form. Do not make up your will by using other form i.e. recording or taping.
#7 Sound Mind, Sound Will
It is important to ensure that your will is made in a condition whereby your mind is sound, that is able to approve and understand what you have written in your will as you do not want your will to be challenged on this ground. As such, it is best to write your will when your health is in good condition and that nothing will affect your mental capacity.
However, if you are writing a will when you are unwell, or on any medication, then it is advisable that you obtain a certification from your doctor to prove that your are of sound mind during the execution of the will.
#8 Provide Explicit Reasons to Exclude Spouse and/or Children
If you choose to exclude your spouse, all or any of your children, then it is advisable to provide reasons and justification for doing so. This is to ensure that your Will is not easily challenged on the ground of suspicious circumstances.
#9 Your Beneficiary Shall Not Involve In your Will Writing
If your beneficiary assisted you in your will writing process, or instruct a lawyer to write your will, then this will can easily be challenged on the ground of suspicious circumstances. It is best to leave out your beneficiaries involvement when writing your will.
#10 Your Will is Revoked upon Marriage
It is important to know that your will is automatically revoked upon your marriage, unless the marriage is contemplated and is expressly provided in the will. To know more about how your divorce and marriage affects your will, click here to read Writing A Will: Before Divorce and After Marriage.
Do always remember to keep your will up to date to reflect your real intention and to ensure those you love are protected. If you would like to get in touch with us to know more about this topic or to ask any questions about your will, please fill up the form below.