Why is it Important to Have a Valid Will?
There are several reasons why it is important you have a valid Will.
Having a Will in place allows you to express your wishes on how your property will be distributed upon your passing and decide who will be responsible for managing your assets and belongings.
Benefits of having a valid, updated Will can:
- Save your family what could otherwise be significant legal costs
- Save your family from stress and worry after your passing
- Help during the arrangements for your funeral expenses
- Help to nominate a guardian for minors
- Limit the costs in administering your estate
- Avoid Parliament decide by legislation where your estate will go if you have chosen not to leave a Will yourself
If you do not have a valid Will when you pass, this is called ‘intestate’. This means that your next of kin will need to pay extra money, presumably, to lawyers to get the problem sorted out.
Instead of applying for a Grant of Probate, your next of kin will need to apply for what is referred to as “Letters of Administration”. Not only is this generally, more expensive, yet the next of kin do not get a say as to how the estate is to be divided; it is divided according to an Act of Parliament. In other words, the Parliament has decided by legislation where your estate will go if you have chosen not to leave a will yourself. Therefore, without a valid Will, there may be crisis of who gets what after your death.
What makes a Will valid?
A Will is generally considered to be valid if it is:
- Signed by you in the presence of 2 witnesses over the age of 18 (preferably not beneficiaries) all at the same time (e.g. three people all in the room together at the same time)
Creating a valid Will
To be able to create a valid Will, you must be at least 18 years of age and be mentally stable. Your wishes must be documented and signed with witnesses. However, you need to be careful while writing your own will as a little mistake can make it become nothing but a worthless paper. That is why having a lawyer to assist during the process can help to ensure you are not missing anything.
Do it yourself Will kits
We all hear about ‘do it yourself Will kits’ that you can buy at the local newsagent. Although Will kits seem ideal to save money, unfortunately, in most cases it can cost you more in the long run. DIY kits are generally poorly drafted as the person drafting the Will is not legally trained and therefore is incapable to provide expert advice. To avoid having an invalid Will, it is recommended you consult an experienced Wills & Estate lawyer.
Don’t take the risk of not having a Will
Compared to the value of the estate you might leave, a Will is an extremely cheap form of insurance policy:
- Most Wills would cost less than the insurance you pay each year on your motor vehicle
- Most Wills would cost less than the rates and taxes you pay in one year on your home
If you think about it logically, why would you pay more to ensure your car for one year than you would pay to protect everything you own forever.