A WILL is a declaration of what a person wishes to be done with his estate after his death. The person making the declaration is the testator/testatrix. Dying intestate – without a will – means your estate will be distributed subject to the “laws of intestacy”.

Before making a will give the matter some serious thought and take professional advice particularly if you have a lot of assets or worldly goods scattered around the globe.

If you have children under 18, it is especially important to decide who you would like to raise them in your absence and to obtain that person’s agreement.  Don’t forget to consider money for education and other child rearing expenses and ponder upon how these assets will be managed and by whom.

Prior to actually writing a will there are some main practical points you will need to consider beforehand, apart from tax and inheritance matters. You also need to include the following instructions of what should happen:-

  • To your mortal remains – Instructions for burial or cremation and the type of funeral wanted.
  • Wishes regarding organ donation (your loss could be someone else’s gain).
  • Appointment of an executor to be responsible for paying debts and dealing with your estate. If you have a large estate that could be time consuming to administer, you may wish to appoint a bank trustee department or a solicitor.
  • Instructions on what should happen to your money, property and possessions (the estate) i.e. who should get the houses, antiques and jewellery.
  • Decide who to nominate to act as executors, beneficiaries and testamentary guardians if you have minor children and instructions on how you wish your children to be raised such as schooling or religion.

Ensure your will is left in a safe place such as a bank or with your solicitor. Each year, you should update a list of all your assets such as property, bank accounts and other pertinent information and keep it attached to the will or a copy of it.

Your will should be updated when your personal or financial circumstances change.