Creating your Last Will

Updated: Jul 10, 2018

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Creating your Last Will

What are the key differences on making Wills from country to country?

Followings are some of the points that impact on your future,

1. Number of Witness requirements.

2. Intestacy law may be different from state to state.

3. Probate tax.

4. Inheritance tax.

5. Allowances such as Guardian’s allowances, Widowed Parent’s allowance etc.

Only point no.1 needs Wills to be modified if witness requirement differs from country to country, however rest of the other points are governed by country laws.

How intestacy law differs in USA, Canada and UK?

In USA and Canada, the intestacy law varies from state to state and province to province. In England, most jurisdictions apply rules of intestate succession to determine next kin who become legal heirs to the estate. If a person dies with a Will, all states strongly favor the decedent’s intentions as expressed in the Will and When a person dies without leaving a Will, that person is considered to have died intestate. All states have enacted statutes to deal with this situation. These statutes are called intestacy statutes and the intestate decedent’s property is distributed according to the laws of descent set forth in these statutes.

Creating your last will chart

When do I need legal advice for creating Will?

There are circumstances in which you may need to consult lawyer for making Wills and examples are

  • If you share a property with someone who isn’t your husband, wife or civil partner.

  • If you want to leave money or property to a dependent who can’t care for themselves.

  • If you have several family members who may make a claim on your will, eg a second spouse or children from another marriage.

  • lf your permanent home is outside the country of residence.

  • lf you have property overseas.

  • If you have a business and with multiple partnerships.

Where do you store your Will?

You can keep your will at your home or store it with your Solicitor. Alternatively, it can be kept at the Bank deposit box. In some of the countries like UK, there are governmental services available for storing a Will.

When to update your Will?

When circumstances changes such as getting separated or divorced, getting married, having a child, moving to new locations, executors of the Will dies or may fall into severe illness and chances that he or she could not be able to execute Will.  In majority of time, do not need to update Wills for situation such as job changes, investments changes changes etc, However it is worthwhile to revisit Wills yearly bases and just change the last page Appendix section where there are details of Family tree and investments are detailed. Since Appendix section of the last page do not contain any signatures of Testator or Witnesses, it does not require that Will be changed.

How to make changes into Will?

Once Will is signed by Testator and Witnesses; can not be amended. The only way you can change a Will is by making an official alteration called a codicil. You must sign a codicil and get it witnessed in the same way as witnessing a Will. For major changes you should make a new will and destroy your old Will.

Who can be my Executor?

The executor will be carried out lots of paperwork after death and so needs to be person preferably relatives or friends. If no one to carry out your affairs then you may hire professionals such as solicitors or accountants, bank representative or in some countries, there are Public Trustee who offers service to be the executor of your Will. The professional services may charge fees and so, it is good to ask them before appointing them as an Executor..

How many executors needed for making Wills?

It is not necessary to appoint more than one executor although it is advisable to do so, for example, in case one of them dies. It is common to appoint two, but up to four executors can take on responsibility for administering the will after a death.

How can I choose Will writing firm?

Will-writing services are available. However, will-writing firms are not regulated by the Law Society so there are few safeguards if things go wrong. If you decide to use a will-writing firm, consider using one that belongs to The Institute of Professional Will writers that a code of practice approved by the Trading Standards Institute Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS). Traders in this scheme display the TSI approved code logo. When you see the logo it means that the trader has agreed to provide good standards of service including clear information before a contract is signed, a clear complaints procedure and access to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme for settling out of court.

If I own nothing, still do I need Will?

Your will is the easiest and most effective way to tell others how you want your property and possessions– called your estate– to be distributed. Even if you don’t have much money or property, it’s still a good idea to have a will so you can name an executor and make it clear who you want making decisions after you die.

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