What is a Will?
A Will is a formal legal document which appoints your executor and sets out your wishes for the distribution of your property upon your death. To be valid, a Will must comply with certain formalities of execution including being properly witnessed, dated and signed, deal with certain essential matters, and an affidavit must be sworn in front of a commissioner for taking oaths by the attesting witness. A Will only becomes irrevocable and takes effect upon death, which means that it can be changed from time to time during your lifetime.
Although tools such as Will Kits, wills downloaded from the internet, or home-drawn DIY documents are popular tools for those who are hoping to save legal fees, the reality is that such documents rarely, if ever, result in a legally valid Will resulting in far greater costs and potential litigation when the time comes to administer the estate.
Such Wills often are made in the absence of proper planning, without full understanding of the impact of joint ownership, beneficiary designations or contingent circumstances. These factors may produce unexpected consequences, undue tax burdens, and the intentions of the deceased not being carried out. Compared with the costs of dealing with an invalid or defective will, it is both economical, and smart planning, to have a proper will prepared - and it may cost less than you think.