7 Dec 2023
24 Oct 2019
Death is a difficult topic to talk about, but creating a will can help minimize stress, financial issues, and disputes among loved ones when the time comes. A will is a legal document that outlines how your assets, such as money in bank accounts, real estate property, and personal property, will be distributed after your passing. It also allows you to appoint guardians for your children.
Creating a will is a simple legal process that can also be affordable. Here are the benefits of having a will:
It allows you to decide who will receive your assets: You can ensure that your assets go to those closest to you, such as your adult children and other dependents, or you can leave assets to beneficiaries who are not related to you, such as a de-facto spouse, friends, or charities.
It reduces stress and disputes for your beneficiaries: Having a will in place makes it easier and quicker for your family and friends to handle your affairs and distribute your assets according to your wishes. Without a will, the process can be more time-consuming, stressful, and subject to disputes.
You can choose and appoint an executor(s) you trust: An executor is an individual appointed in the will to handle your affairs and requests after your passing. By creating a will, you can choose who you want that executor to be, and you can appoint up to four executor(s) you trust to manage and distribute your assets.
It quickens the overall process: Your executor(s) will be able to get hold of your assets almost immediately without the need to go through a court process, which can take months.
You can appoint guardians for your children: If you have minor children, you can appoint a legal guardian whom you trust before they reach adulthood.
It avoids standard distribution under the law of intestacy: If you do not have a will, your assets will be distributed in accordance with the laws of intestacy, which may not necessarily align with your wishes. Having a will can give you peace of mind.
You can include funerary instructions: You can include in your will other wishes, such as funerary arrangements, burial or cremation, religious ceremony, etc.
It can reduce stamp duty: Without a will, your real properties will be split equally among beneficiaries, which can lead to complications in management and potential stamp duty. With a will, you can avoid this.
It can reduce inheritance tax: Creating a will can help reduce the amount of inheritance tax payable on the value of the property and money you leave behind, saving you money.
To write a will, you can consult your local lawyer to check if there are jurisdiction-specific rules that apply to your area. You can also save legal costs by making your own will, as long as it clearly states your intentions, is signed and dated in front of two independent witnesses, and you have the mental capacity to make the will and are not under any undue influence or duress.
Whilst the benefits we just mentioned above apply to most common law jurisdictions, you may wish to consult your local lawyer to check if there are jurisdiction-specific rules that only apply to your locality.
You can also save legal costs by making your own will (if your will is straightforward). It does not need to be legal, printed on special paper, signed, or sealed by a lawyer. The will is valid if it fulfils the following:
It clearly states your intention in the distribution of your estates;
You sign and date the will in front of two independent witnesses (both of which are present at the same time) who are not beneficiaries under the will; and
You have the mental capacity when making the will and are not under any undue influence or duress.
For more on how to write a Will, please go to:
When to Use
Last Will and Testament with Spouse and Children
Last Will and Testament made by an individual with a spouse and children. Give everything to the spouse first, but if the spouse died first, give all to the children in equal shares.
Last Will and Testament with Children and No Spouse
Last Will and Testament made by an individual with children but no spouse. Give everything to children and their descendants in equal shares.
Last Will and Testament with Spouse and No Children
Last Will and Testament made by an individual with a spouse but no children. Give everything to the spouse but if the spouse died first, give everything to a designated charity / in accordance with the laws of intestacy.
Last Will and Testament with No Spouse and No Children
Last Will and Testament made by an individual with no children and no spouse. Give everything to siblings and their descendants, otherwise give everything to designated charity / in accordance with the laws of intestacy.
Please note that this is just a general summary of the position under common law and does not constitute legal advice. As the laws of each jurisdiction may be different, you may want to speak to your lawyer.
Not the right document?
Don’t worry, we have thousands of documents for you to choose from: