Why is it important to make a Will?

Many people feel that it is not necessary for them to make a Will perhaps because it is felt that a Will is only for the wealthy who will leave a large estate, or because they are middle-aged and expect to live for another 30-40 years. Making a Will can be daunting because it causes us to contemplate our own mortality. But life is uncertain. Many estates have been subject to expensive litigation in the courts because of the lack of certainty and clarity that a Will brings.

A well-drafted Will performs two basic functions:

  • It tells everyone who your money, property and other possessions should go to, and in what shares, when you die; and
  • It appoints particular individuals, whom we call executors, to be in charge of your estate and to carry out your instructions including those concerning funeral and burial/cremation arrangements.          

If you do not write a Will then your possessions will be shared out according to the rules set out in the Succession Law, which may or may not match your wishes. For example, those rules do not allow for close friends to inherit any of your possessions, or you may wish to make special provision for someone who took a particular care and interest in your wellbeing while you were alive. Generally speaking, making a Will helps to make matters less stressful and time-consuming for the loved ones that you leave behind.    

It is also important that your Will is well-prepared so that it will be valid, precise and clear when you pass on.  Having a poorly drafted Will may be worse than having none at all.