If you wish to make a Will, the law that you need to abide in order to make a valid will is the Wills Act, which states that a testator may devise, bequeath or dispose of his real or personal estate, by a Will. The following is a very general guide to making a valid Will.
Formalities of a Will:
(a) The Will must be in writing
(b) The person making the Will (Testator) must be 21 years old
(c) The Testator must sign the Will at the foot end of the Will and if the Testator is unable to do so, the Testator may direct another person to sign it in the presence of the Testator.
(d) There must be at least 2 or more witnesses to the Will and the witnesses must also sign the Will in the presence of the Testator and in the presence of each other.
(e) The 2 main witnesses must not be beneficiaries of the Will (i.e. persons who benefit from the Will) or the spouse of the Testator. A beneficiary can be a third witness
As the making of a Will has to follow very strict guidelines, it is advisable to engage a professional adviser (such as a lawyer) to prepare the Will and ensure that the formalities are complied with.
What to do with your Will?
After signing your will, you must keep a copy in a safe place and let your family members know about the existence of the Will. You should also ensure that the information of the Will should also be lodged with the Wills Registry.
The information kept by the Wills Registry will be kept strictly confidential and only the Testator, his/her next-of-kin and the lawyers in the Will-making process will have access to it. The Wills Registry will keep the following on their records:
- Details of the person making the Will
- Date of the Will
- Details of the person who prepared the Will
- Details of where the Will is held or can be found
A fee will be incurred for depositing the information in connection with the Will.
Choosing an Executor of your Will
You will need to appoint someone or a professional body to ensure that your wishes stated in your Will are properly honoured in the event of your death. You need to consult with the person or professional body whom you wish to appoint as executor before you make your Will to ensure that he/she is agreeable to act as an Executor.
The role of the Executor is to ensure that he/she settles your debts and liabilities and distributes the assets to your beneficiaries according to your Will.
A Will can also be challenged by those who dispute its validity, and a Court may declare it wholly or partially invalid. It is therefore very important to ensure that your Will must comply fully with the provisions of the Wills Act in order to eliminate any successful challenge that can be raised regarding its validity.
If you wish to make a Will, or you wish to instruct us on obtaining a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, or any of the services in connection with the deceased’s estate, please do not hesitate to contact us for a consultation appointment.
Call us at 64352933 or fill in the form below