As we all grow old, one of the most critical inquiries we seek is to find out all that we need to know about making a will or how to write a will. This feeling isn’t strange at all. The human mind always wonders what happens in the event of one’s demise. It is this curiosity and, perhaps, the uncertainty that makes us develop a keen interest in making our respective wills.
If you live in Canada, the USA, the UK, and countries that are members of the European Union (EU) and you’ve bothered about making a will, this article is for you. What are the three most paramount things you need to know about making a will, especially if you live in Canada, the USA, the UK, and countries belonging to the EU? Read on to find out.
Why is making a Will so important?
It makes sense to begin from here, especially if you’re one of those who think having a will may not be necessary. One of the major reasons why people have such notions is because they probably don’t know what happens if they pass away without a will. They don’t understand that a lot could be at stake. So, what’s the big deal about making a will? Isn’t a will just a piece of a document? Why make a fuss out of it? I’ll tell you.
First, you need to have a proper understanding of what a will is. Simply put, a will is a legal instrument that allows a person, the testator, to decide how his estate/property will be managed and distributed after his death. Everything owned by the deceased person is referred to as his estate. The person dealing with the estate of the deceased person (also called the testator) is
called an executor or an administrator.
According to will law, if a will is absent or declared invalid after a person's death, such a person will have died intestate. Such a person's estate will be distributed according to the laws of descent and distribution of the state in which the person resided. Having a will ensures your property is fairly distributed to the beneficiaries while protecting their
interests, rather than allowing a court to appoint a stranger to serve as an executor.
Making a Will
What are the differences in Canada, the USA, the UK, and EU countries?
Will laws vary from country to country! Legally, a person may have wills in two countries. However, there specific differences in wills across the above-listed countries that make it impossible for a will in one country to take effect in another.
Canada, USA, UK, and EU countries differ in common law when it comes to:
- Unilateral mistake
- Limitation clause
What makes a Will legal?
The most critical part of this article is this question. You’re going to learn the three most important things you need to know about a will. At the end of the day, if your will is invalid after your demise, then your property may not be shared equitably. Below are the three most paramount things you need to know about a will.
They are what validates a will:
- Legal Age and Testamentary Capacity
If a person under the legal age of his or her country writes a will, that will is invalid. The testamentary capacity of a testator refers to his ability to make sound and rational decisions. That is, a will is invalid if the testator doesn’t have a sound mind to write it.
- Intent and Voluntary
A will entered into by the testator under duress or by coercion is invalid. Also, a valid will must show the intent of the testator to make a will. A person has the intent to make a will if, at the point of writing the will, he or she makes a revocable decision to bequeath their properties to specific persons in case they die.
- Signature, Date, Witnesses
A valid will must be signed by the testator, dated by the testator, and witnessed by two other parties.
Having read all this, it becomes quite clear why a will is important. Without a will, one may be alienating his generation from the benefits that should be rightfully theirs after his or her death. Want to know how to write a will? Read our next article to learn how to write a will with little or no legal advice.