Why You Need a Will
Making a will is an important task that people tend to continually put off. If you have asked yourself, “Do I need a will?”, the answer is a resounding yes. A valid, legal will is the only way to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
A will is a legal document that names your beneficiaries. These can be family members, friends, a domestic partner, or charitable organizations who will receive your assets as you direct. Your assets include everything you own: your home, property, car, money in the bank, insurance policies, shares, jewelry, pictures, furniture … the list goes on. Making a will protects your assets, making certain they will be shared out in the way you want after you are gone.
Preparing a valid will
A valid will is one that has been accepted by a court and put into effect by a grant of probate. To be valid, your will must be:
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In writing. It must be handwritten, typed, or printed.
Signed. Ideally your signature should be at the end of the will.
Witnessed. In some jurisdictions, two witnesses must be present when you sign your will or acknowledge it and they must sign it in your presence. However, they do not have to be present together at the time they sign.
If your will is not made in this manner it may not be enforceable; the court has the power to grant or not grant probate (confirm that the will is valid) and your property could be disposed of as if you had not made a will.
Consider the years of hard work it has taken you to build your assets (known as your “estate”). If you are thinking, “Why do I need a will? I’m young and healthy,” remember that a will is about providing for the future of your loved ones. Dying without a will (dying “intestate“) can be costly and stressful for your family at what is already a difficult time.