Many people use our free legal wills to compile their last will and testament.
Over time we've had many questions regarding practical solutions when writing a will or asking us to explain some of the clauses used in our will forms.
Sidebar: Preview the information on How to Write a Will on our main Last Will and Testament page. There you will also find links to the variety of free will templates for your use.
As you work though drafting your own legal will, you may well have some questions too.
Below is a list of frequently asked questions which may be of help to you.
If you look at this Free Will Form for example, you will see this sentence:
"I hereby give and grant the Executor all powers and authority as are required or allowed in law, and especially that of assumption."
This means that an executor testamentary can appoint another person to assist him/her. Such co-executors will be termed executors assumed.
For example, a nominated executor may want to appoint a professional such as a stockbroker, lawyer and accountant etc. to assist in administering the estate.
A bond is a kind of insurance policy to protect the estate against losses incurred by the executor through theft or mismanagement of assets.
If a spouse or next of kin will be the sole or main beneficiary of the estate, it is typical to specify that no bond will be required. Similarly where a trusted friend is appointed, the assumption is that such a person will administer the estate faithfully.
It must be noted that the premium for a bond will be paid with funds from the estate, reducing the amount that is to be distributed amongst heirs or beneficiaries. So it makes sense to consider whether legal wills should stipulate waiving the requirement for a bond.
Yes. You need to do so in writing following the prescribed format e.g. submit a declaration of renunciation, and you need to do so within the time period specified in your jurisdiction.
A renunciation of an inheritance (declining an inheritance) will typically come about because there are not enough assets to cover the debts of the deceased. The beneficiaries would not want to be liable for the debts of a deceased, and will need to provide legal proof to any creditors that they've declined the inheritance.
But it's All or Nothing!
You cannot accept a portion of the inheritance - not even personal mementoes, photo albums etc. - and decline the rest and in general you cannot specify who should inherit in your stead. Your full inheritance will revert to the estate where it will be allocated according to the terms of the will, as if you had died immediately before your inheritance became due.
If you do accept even a small amount from the estate, it may be seen as a tacit acceptance of the inheritance, which you cannot decline at a later stage.
If you intend disclaiming your inheritance, you should not delay doing so unnecessarily, because should you die before doing so, YOUR heirs will then be next in line to deal with that estate.
If your inheritance came about through intestacy i.e. there was no will, you are still not obliged to accept the inheritance.
Your disclaimed portion will automatically go to the next person (or shared amongst the next persons) in line.
No. Because a blind person cannot see when testators sign the will.
Your nominated executor needs to get hold of your original will in order to be appointed as executor and handle your affairs, as soon as possible after your death.
So keep your executor and next of kin informed as to the location of your document!
Your home - A strong and sturdy safe that cannot be carted off by burglars and that is fire- and water proof, is a good place to store a will.
Another person - A trusted friend, business partner or associate who has the facility to store your document safely, e.g. your accountant or lawyer friend.
Your Bank or Attorney - If your will was drafted by your attorney it may be part of the service (at no extra cost) to store your will. Similarly if your bank compiled your will and will act as your executors.
Bank Safe Deposit Box - You need to confirm with the applicable bank exactly what the requirements or procedures are for accessing a safe deposit box upon an owner's death. You may need to issue a letter of authority to your executor to take possession of your will. With some banks a court order may be required to open a box.
In any event, be sure to keep the right people informed as to the location of your will.
Yes. You can execute (legally sign i.e. in the presence of witnesses etc.) additional original copies for safekeeping. Should one copy gets lost or destroyed, your executor could have access to another one.
However, should you wish to change or revoke your will, you must be sure to amend or destroy all the original copies. This is to cater for the event should your later will be lost or not probated, in which case one of your earlier original legal wills shall be the last Will and Testament of record.
IMPORTANT NOTE: - If you have a minor child named as beneficiary in your will, you should (read must) explore creating a Testamentary Trust Will.
We cover this topic in depth because not only is it highly important to protect assets for minors, it also offers distinct advantages for other family members when creating family wills.
You do not want to leave instructions in your Last Will since that document becomes public knowledge during probate.
However, you could make use of our App and completely bypass the need to capture anything on paper. Much easier to update from time to time too!
You will be able to securely and confidentially store your login details, appoint an executor who can access the information when you pass away and who can follow the instructions on closing your accounts.
Visit our EndExec App page to register your email address and get advance notice when we launch our APP!