9 Advantages of having a Will

9 Advantages of having a Will

We all love our family. We all want provide for our family as best we can. We all want to ensure our loved ones are secure and happy. 

Death is often a taboo subject. No one enjoys thinking about their own death. However being prepared for the worst is important because our death inevitably impacts our loved ones severely. Having a Will in place can help minimise the stress, financial issues, life or death decisions and disputes which your loved ones may face in times of crisis.  

Last Will and Testament

Here are the 9 Advantages of having a Will:

  1. Inform People who will be Getting Your Assets -You can decide who to leave your assets to when you die (money, real property, personal belongings). In particular, you can 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- A Will makes it much easier for your family, relatives or friends to sort everything out when you die – without a Will the process can be more time consuming, stressful and subject to more disputes.

  3. Appoint Executor(s) You Trust – You can appoint up to four executor(s) you trust to manage and distribute the assets. By having a Will you can avoid having an uninvited next-of-kin applying to court and competing to become administrator(s) of your estate.  

  4. Immediate Effect– 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 and funeral expenses). 

  5. 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. Standard Distribution under 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 spouse but no child, your estate may be split between your spouse and your other family members.

  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, the real properties will be split equally amongst the beneficiaries. This may cause undue complications in the management of properties. Transferring interests in such properties later will 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. Inheritance Tax- A will may help reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax that might be payable on the value of the property and money you leave behind. You may wish to talk to your local expert on this area.

Whilst the comments above are generic to most common law jurisdictions, you may wish to check with your local lawyer to see if there are any jurisdiction specific rule that would apply in your locality.

You can also save legal costs by making your own Will (in particular if your will is fairly straightforward). It does not need to be legalistic, on any special paper, or signed and sealed by a lawyer. A will is a valid will as long as:

  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 forms of will you may want to use as reference depending on your particular situation:

Documents

When to Use

Web Links

Last Will and Testament with Spouse and Children

Last Will and Testament made by an individual with spouse and children. Give everything to spouse first, but if spouse died first, give all to children in equal share.

https://docpro.com/document/579/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/document/580/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 spouse but no children. Give everything to spouse but if spouse died first, give everything to designated charity / in accordance with law of intestacy.

https://docpro.com/document/582/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 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/document/581/last-will-and-testament/no-spouse-no-children