When talking about writing a will, usual reaction of people would be to say that it’s complicated. In this article, we will discuss the different parts of a will and how you can write on yourself. Let’s get started.
In the book “The Rockwills Guide to Succession and Trust In Wealth Management”, which you can buy here by the way – just click the link Estate Planning Book, it discusses the importance of having a Will and how it protects your assets. It also gives you a look into what a Will looks like, the example is written below for your convenience:
The Anatomy of A Will
You have seen the example of a Will; now it’s time to take a more in-depth look at what exactly goes on inside a Will.
- The opening paragraph – the first paragraph you see in a Will. It states the identity of the will-maker, who in the case would be you if you plan to make your Will. It contains a declaration that states that its the last will and it revokes all other Wills made before it. If it is applicable, a Will can make a statement indicating the scope of its jurisdiction or state the domicile of the testator. Note though there are specific rules that affect the jurisdiction of a person’s domicile, especially if the testator is not a native of the country.
- Appointment of executors and trustees – this part of the Will states who the executor of a will is, and possible substitute to him or her in case something happens or the executor does not want to do the job. Usually, the executor and the trustee is one and the same, but there can be the case, if you wish it, that they are made up of two different people. You can have your spouse as the executor and have a company like Rockwills be the trustee to hold the Trust for the benefit of your beneficiaries.
- Payments of Liabilities – the part of the Will that states how to deal with any debts you leave behind as well as dealing with taxes, executorship, testamentary and funeral expenses. It can also include a waiver or forgiveness of loans given by you to your various family members. Payments of mortgages from certain funds can also be included.
- Gifts and Distribution to Beneficiaries – this is the part in the Will where you distribute your assets to your beneficiaries, based on your estate administration. It can be in the form of specific gifts (movable or immovable), general legacies and your residuary estate. Your residuary estate is basically what is left behind after you have distributed all the gifts you intend to make.
- Testamentary Trusts – this is the part in the Will that discusses any property held in a trust or portion of the estate that does not immediately become distributable to the beneficiaries. Your appointed trustee would be responsible for holding the property for your beneficiaries.
- Guardianship – this indicates the legal guardians of your minor children in the event that your spouse predeceases you, or dies shortly after you.
- Commorientes Clause – this clause prevents gifts from falling in the estates of the beneficiaries who die within a short time from the passing of the testator. Usually, people specify a period of thirty days from the testator’s death before the beneficiaries can get the benefits. This makes sure that you retain effective control over the destination of your assets.
- Closing paragraph – the last part contains the date, the signature of the testator and the witnessing clauses.
Writing a Will is just like writing any document in your life, but it’s important to remember that this simple document has the power to shift the course of your family’s future. So write you Wills with caution, and if you want the aid of a professional to help you make an accurate and valid Will then give us at Rockwills a call or ask us a question.