April 7, 2023

A Will - What, Who and Why

A person's last Will and testament outlines what to do with possessions
Marvelous Oyeyemi
Content Writer

A Will is a legal document that sets forth your wishes regarding the distribution of your property and the care of any minor children. If you die without a Will, those wishes may not be carried out. Even worse, your heirs may end up spending additional time, money, and emotional energy to settle your affairs after you're gone. A person's last Will and testament outlines what to do with possessions, whether the deceased will leave them to another person, a group or donate them to charity, and what happens to other things that they are responsible for, such as custody of dependents and management of accounts and financial interests

Terms to get familiar with to understand the concept fully includes:

Testator: Someone who writes and executes (signs) a will.

Testatrix: The old-fashioned term for a female will-writer.

Trustee: Someone who has legal authority over the assets in a trust.

Types of Will

Holographic Wills: Wills written and signed by the testator but not witnessed are known as Holographic Wills—from the less common secondary meaning of the word holograph, meaning a document hand-written by its author. Such wills are often used when time is short and witnesses are unavailable

Oral Wills: Least widely recognized are oral wills, in which the testator speaks their wishes before witnesses. Lacking a written record, or at least one prepared by the testator, courts do not widely recognize oral wills.

Written and Testamentary Wills: A testamentary Will is traditionally known as the last will and testament. It is a legal document used to transfer a person's assets to beneficiaries after death. To be valid, testamentary Wills must fulfill certain conditions, for example, it must be written in a certain language, indicating who is making the will and revoking all previous wills, as well as include a valid signature

Mutual Wills: A married or committed couple usually executes this type of will. After one party dies, the remaining party is bound by the terms of the mutual will. Mutual wills can be used to ensure that property passes to the deceased’s children rather than to a new spouse

Why You Should Have a Will

Some people think that only the very wealthy or those with complicated assets need wills. However, there are many good reasons to have a will.

  • You can be clear about who gets your assets. You can decide who gets what and how much.
  • You can keep your assets out of the hands of people you don't want to give (like an estranged relative).
  • You can identify who should care for your children. Without a will, the courts will decide.
  • Your heirs will have a faster and easier time getting access to your assets.
  • You can plan to save your estate money on taxes. You can also give gifts and charitable donations, which can help offset the estate tax.

There is no perfect time to start planning your Will, start now. There are things you can put in place pending any emergencies and unforeseen circumstances. Changes can always be made at any time. Even better, the Twinku App can help you collate your assets and assign your preferred beneficiaries.

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