By Prudence Minayo
Death is an unavoidable rite of passage. Sometimes it is expected when one is too old or has been sick for a very long time. However, at times it’s so sudden, one minute you laugh together or fight and the next, a loved one is gone, probably due to an accident. The sad fact is that when someone dies, they have no control of how what they left behind will get utilized. In many families, the death of a wealthy relative means a ‘declaration of war’ fought in courthouses over who will have control of the deceased properties.
This is why it is very important to be prepared for death by writing a will. Make sure it’s ironclad because some will contest disregarding the deceased wishes.
This article helps you know the legal way to write a will and some mistakes to avoid in the will. A legal will has the following components
This is the name of the person writing the will. Write your full names and declare that this is your last will as you may have written others before. It is also good to declare that you are writing this will while of sound mind and without any coercion.
This contains the specific things you are leaving behind. Only write things that you legally own. Be specific, tell them what exactly it is you are giving to each person. For example, some people deed a house and all its contents to one person. Others deed a house but declare that all the furniture or paintings should go to a different person. Others declare all their properties should go to one person. In this case, it is important to make a list of all the properties. In a nutshell, declare clearly who is being given which item.
This is the person who will make sure that all your assets are divided according to your wishes. Yes, you have written your wishes, but who will see them fulfilled? Make sure that the person you allocate this job to is trustworthy. There are many cases where the executor fails in the job, especially in a will where property is left to children that are not of legal age. An executor may collude with evil relatives to take the property away.
Other people have to witness that that is your last will and testament. The witnesses sign in their allocated section.
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Mistakes to avoid
As mentioned earlier, a will can be contested and property distributed against the deceased wishes if the court finds loopholes. The best way to avoid this is by making an ironclad will that will provide no one with loopholes to break it. Below are some things you can do and mistakes you can avoid:
- Do not write a will before marriage if you plan to marry. This is because through marriage you acquire other heirs who are entitled to your property.
- Never assume your partner is your wife if there is no legal marriage (come we stay partners). The law does not recognize such partners so if you said the person is your wife or husband in the will, this might just be a loophole.
- Do not forget to write an executor
- Excluding children born out of wedlock. You have a responsibility to them and they may contest the will
- Basing your will on cultural norms, such as, a girl should not inherit property.
- Making too many changes on one single will may seem suspicious. Therefore, instead of making so many changes just write a new will.
Only people above the age of 18 can write legal will. If one feels that in the event of death, there will be claims of insanity, then visit a specialist and get tested at the time of the writing. Attach the results to the will. This way anyone that challenges sanity will be in for a rude awakening.