Planning a will is important to carry on the wishes of a person after they pass on. The will should contain clear instructions about what one wants to do with their money and the assets they own. It will also ensure that their legacy and future generations are taken care of accordingly
Making a Will
A will takes effect after death. It is a legal document that describes a person’s estate, which includes their money, savings and assets. It also states how their estate will be distributed among their beneficiaries.
Wills differ from person to person. It can be a simple one-page document to a complex one, depending on the person’s estate. It also contains instructions about the care of young children, special needs children, gifts to charity, and so on.
A will normally enlists the following:
• A list of all of the person’s assets
• A list of all the person’s liabilities and debts, stating how the person wants to pay their debts off before assets are distributed to the beneficiaries
• The beneficiaries and guardians, and how much each one is to receive
• The executors carry out the person’s will. A beneficiary may also be the executor.
• The advisors (such as the person’s lawyers and accountants)
• A revocation clause: This is to cancel out any wills the person planned previously.
• A residuary clause: This gives the person a say in how they want to distribute the rest of their estate. For example, if a beneficiary dies before the person does, the intended assets will be a part of this remainder.
If a person does not have a will, the Public Trustee, an office under the Ministry of Law, will decide who receives their property based on the law. This means that people to whom this person wants to pass on their money or belongings may not get them. If a person you know or care for has not made a will, help this person ensure that their money goes where they want it to go by planning a will.
They may appoint:
• An executor, someone trusted to make sure their wishes are carried out; or
• A guardian to take care of the property or money they are leaving for their children.
If you and/or a person you care for need legal advice, you may want to consider visiting a free legal clinic. Keep in mind free legal clinics are staffed by volunteer lawyers so not all of them may be experts in this area. You should call the clinic before you visit to make sure they can give you and/or the person you care for the necessary advice. Free legal clinics are also offered at some community clubs.