A will is a document describing how you want your estate to be distributed when you die. It does not need to be expensive, it does not need to be drawn up by a solicitor or a will lawyer (although it is advisable to consult an expert), and it does not need to cost a fortune.
Myth 1: Making a will is complicated.
A will is a legal paper that directs how you want your estate distributed after death. You must make one because the law decides who gets what and when without it.
Myth 2: You can frame your own will.
Writing a will yourself may seem easy to get around hiring a will lawyer. Still, it’s important to remember that this document must be drafted per local laws, and all parties must follow certain formalities for the paper to take effect after death.
Myth 3: Wills are for the old and wealthy.
The truth is that everyone should have a will, no matter their age or stage of life. You might want to have one for many reasons, even if you only have a small amount of savings and a few assets.
Myth 4: You have already made a will once, so there’s no need to do it again.
If you have a partner in a common-law relationship, you married someone with children from another relationship and have new children yourself, or if your assets have changed considerably since the last time you made a will, you should update your estate plan.
Myth 5: Having an Executor, a Trustee, and a Guardian is critical.
The only requirement for the validity of your will is that it must be signed by you, witnessed by two other people at the signing, and signed by you on each page.
Myth 6: All assets are equally divided between the family members under a will.
The key is to remember that all assets are not equally divided under a Will. Moreover, it’s essential to remember that how assets are divided depends on the terms of the will.
Myth 7: If your property is held jointly with another person, it will pass automatically on your death.
The main types of joint ownership are absolute and beneficial. Absolute means that each party owns an equal share of the property, and both parties have complete control over it at all times. Beneficial ownership is where one owner has actual physical possession but not the legal title (and thus no right to sell), while the other has legal title and can sell but does not have biological control (e.g., a tenant in common).
Myth 8: You can make any gift in your will you like.
You can give money or property to anyone you choose without specifying them by name. You can also make gifts conditional upon certain events occurring when they’re still alive (known as being “in reversion”).
Myth 9: The executor has no right to take out expenses or money for their services before receiving their share of the residue of the estate.
The executor is entitled to be reimbursed for the costs and time spent winding up the estate and can claim such expenses from the estate. However, the executor will also be required by law to pay all taxes on behalf of an estate, which means they may need some funds to cover these costs.
After reading this article, you should be able to dispel some myths about framing a will. Then, with just a little research and preparation, anyone can craft their own Will or seek expert help from an attorney, if necessary.