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9 Advantages of Having a Will

DocPro Legal
Last Updated:

8 Aug 2022

Published On:

24 Oct 2019

min read

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Death is a taboo subject – no one enjoys thinking about their death. Despite this, having a will in place will minimise the stress, financial issues, and disputes among your loved ones once the time does come. A will is a legal document that sets out and coordinates how your assets (e.g. money in bank accounts, real estate property, personal property, etc.) are to be distributed after your passing. Wills can also enable you to appoint guardians for your children.

 

On the bright side, creating a will is a simple legal process. They can also be affordable. Here is everything you need to know about making a will.

 

Last Will and Testament

 

The advantages of having a will / Benefits of having a Will. 

 

1. It informs the individuals who will be receiving your assets

Importantly, it is you who can decide who/where you want your property and assets to go after you die (e.g. money, real property, personal belongings).


This means that you can ensure that those closest to you will receive your assets, such as your adult children and other dependents. On the contrary, you also have the choice to leave assets to beneficiaries who are not related to you, e.g., de-facto spouse, friends, and charities. 

 

2. Less stress and disputes for your beneficiaries

 

Having a will in place makes it much easier and quicker for your family, relatives, or friends to sort everything out according to your wishes when you die. Without a will, the process can be more time-consuming, stressful, and subject to more disputes as there would be an inevitable lack of clarity.

 

3. You can choose and appoint an executor(s) you trust  

 

Executor(s) are individuals appointed and named in the will to handle your affairs and requests after your passing. By creating a will, you will have the freedom to pick who you want that executor to be. You can appoint up to four executor(s) you trust to manage and distribute the assets. You may choose to have a professional executor, such as a legal professional, law firm, or accountant.


By having a will, you can avoid having family members or friends applying to court and competing to become an administrator(s) of your estate.  

 

4. Quickens the overall process

 

Your executor(s) will be able to get hold of the assets almost immediately without the need to go through a court process. Court administration may take months and may result in family members not having access to vital cash flow in times of need (e.g. to pay for living expenses, funeral arrangements, etc.). 

 

5. You can appoint guardians for your children 

 

Having a will is especially important if you have minor children and you would like to appoint a legal guardian whom you can trust before they reach adulthood.

 

6. Avoidance of standard distribution under the law of intestacy     

 

If you do not have a will, everything you own will be distributed in accordance with the laws of intestacy under Common Law, which may not necessarily result in the way you would expect. For example, if you have a spouse but no child, your estate may be split between your spouse and your other family members. Having a will can give you peace of mind. 

 

7. Funerary Instructions 

 

You can include in your will other wishes, such as funerary arrangements, burial or cremation, religious ceremony, etc.

 

8. Stamp Duty 

 

Without a will, your real properties will be split equally amongst the beneficiaries. This may give rise to complications in the management of properties. Transferring interests in properties later may also result in stamp duty. As transfers under intestacy are generally exempted from stamp duty, it is more efficient to give certain real property to designated beneficiaries from the onset.

 

9. Paying less 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. This will help increase your tax savings.

 

Since this varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, you may wish to consult an expert or lawyer to get a better idea of the details.

 

So, how do I write a will?

 

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: 

 

  1. It clearly states your intention in the distribution of your estates;

     

  2. 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

     

  3. You have the mental capacity when making the will and are not under any undue influence or duress.

 

If you choose to create your own will, below are four templates/types of wills you may want to use for reference depending on your situation:

 

 

Documents

When to Use

Web Links

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.

https://docpro.com/doc579/last-will-and-testament-with-spouse-and-children

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.

https://docpro.com/doc580/last-will-and-testament-with-children-no-spouse

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.

https://docpro.com/doc582/last-will-and-testament-with-spouse-and-no-children

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.

https://docpro.com/doc581/last-will-and-testament-no-spouse-no-children

 

 

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.

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