One of the major issues we faced in families after someone dies without a will is the distribution of the assets. There is so much confusion and division in some families already and is further compounded when a family member dies without a will. Even if you are close knitted family, your relationship can be impacted negatively due to fighting on the distribution of the assets. However, if you have a will, it can alleviate some of these issues even though it is possible that a will can be contested. Let me take this opportunity to thank Hon. Akierra Missick for appearing on Financial Speaking talk show to discuss Estate Planning. Previously to her, Sean O’Neil appeared on the show a few years ago to discuss the same topic but I did not write an article on it. Witnessing the animosity and division among so many family members, I personally think it is important for each us to have a will.
What is a will?
A will is a document that sets forth the desires of an individual on the distribution of his or her assets after their death.
What should the will cover?
The will should cover all the assets including any life insurance policies or benefits the person is entitled to at the time of their de. The will should also cover your liabilities especially if you have family members living in your house and mortgage has to be paid continually after the death of someone.
Who can prepare a will?
Most people may tend to use a lawyer to prepare a will, however, you can prepare the will yourself as long as you have two independent witnesses who are not the beneficiaries. If your will is not signed by two witnesses, your will is not valid.
Where do I file the will?
The will can filed with the Deeds register, however, it is not necessary. Maintain the will in a secure place but let your beneficiaries and family know that you have a will because if they don’t know, then how will they be able to carry out your desires. To ensure there is no tampering it may be best to file it with the Deeds o Register.
What happens when you died without a will?
Many people die without a will. If a person dies without a will, a family member can request from the judge to be the administrator and manage the distribution of the assets. The administrator can be any family member.
Can a will be contested?
A will can be contested as long as you can demonstrate that the individual was not in his or her sober mind or that the will is not valid or fraudulent.
Can a will be modified?
You can modify your will multiple times but ensure you maintain the latest one in your secured area.
How should the assets be distributed?
The assets should be distributed based on the desires of the individual. However, ensure that you have listed all of your assets and how you want them to be distributed.
Are their joint wills?
Each individual should ensure that wills are done individually and not jointly.
It is important that individuals document their desires to avoid any confusion and misunderstanding. The thing is once you are dead, you are dead and dead man or dead woman do not talk. Obviously, I cannot advise you are to distribute your assets but I will certainly want you to remember your children and your church. Children are innocent no matter how they came into this world. We live in society where there are multiple children with different individuals and sometimes there is resentment by some of the partners. Protect your children and your family by having a will.