Last Wills & Testaments

Last Will & Testament, Your Loving Leash on Your Loved Ones from Beyond

None of us wants or likes to talk about death. But, as depressing and dispiriting death is, we have to talk about it. No, we don’t mean having to recount the sad tales, rather discussing and documenting what our afterlife wishes are. The last will and testament, last will, the basis of estate planning, is the document you should bring to the discussion table, especially if you wish to protect your estate after your demise and if you wish for the people you care about the most to be protected when you are no longer there.

In case you are wondering, dying without a will means that the state declares your estate intestate. When your estate is declared intestate, it means that the government/ state will determine how best to distribute your assets and not you, after it invokes the intestacy laws. Preparing a will prevents this from happening, and you end up with control over your affairs, even after your death.

The last will and testament controls the person (s) who inherit your property, it determines the guardian to your children, outlines the person responsible for the management of your estate, and you could also use it to outline your preferred business succession plan or the create trusts for your children or pets.

Note that the signed last will will be limited only to your probate assets as it has no control over the jointly held assets or the assets that have a beneficiary already designated.

Role of The Last Will

Protects your estate from the Intestacy Rules where all your wishes are ignored.

Creation of trusts – a last will allows you to leave your assets in different trusts like the Bypass or Dynasty Trust and other types of irrevocable trusts. By leaving your assets in a trust, the assets are protected from creditors or property division in the event of a divorce. You can also use the trust to keep your assets within your family.

Distribution of assets – in the will, you are required to name your beneficiaries and the executor. The executor’s role will be the management of the estate and the consequently, the distribution of the assets to the named beneficiaries. Note that the will gives you the right to name anyone you want as the beneficiary to your estate.

Appointment of guardianship – should you leave young children behind upon your demise, appointing a guardian will ensure the protection of your children. Make sure to discuss this with the potential guardians before you write their names.

Types of wills

  • While most wills are in writing, there are oral and holographic wills, and they are only acceptable in specific circumstances. The holographic will is a last will that is handwritten in its entirety.

    • Simple Will

  • Though the name is misleading, the simple will describes the will that leaves all assets to beneficiaries without any protective trusts.

    • Complex Will

Other than the naming of beneficiaries, the complex will address matters relating to divorce, irrevocable trusts, guardians, business succession plans, special needs beneficiaries, and asset protection, and it also addresses large estates, as well as blended family situations.

Codicil to a will

A last will and testament is easily amended using a codicil. The codicil refers to an amendment to a portion of a last will. It allows the amendment of one part of the will, leaving the rest of the will intact.

Conditions for making the last will

  • Whether you choose to use an online last will and testament form or you prepare a handwritten/ typed will, you must meet specific conditions:

    • You require at least 2 witnesses

    • The will should be dated

    • You have to prepare the will on your own volition, and you must have the capacity to prepare it

    • You should be at least 18 years old.

To start filling out a free last will and testament, click here.