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Last updated: April 2, 2019

A Will is a Legal document that sates the right of the person who takes over one’s property at the event of death. It clearly states who takes what and the amount assigned to him or her. Everybody has a right that is protected by law of writing a will and it should be taken as a responsibility. Karen and Nigel ( 2004 ) explains that the main functions of a will includes, naming a guardian for children who are minor, naming a trustee and giving him or her the responsibility of of handling an estate on behalf of minor children and naming representative to take care of all the decedent’s affairs from when he dies to the time when the estates are settled.TYPES OF WILLSBarry ( 2006 ) states various types of wills which includes,Ø  Attested Will : The most common will that is witnessed by two witnesses and signed by the testator who is the owner and a witness.Ø  Conditional Will : It is a will with conditions and those conditions must be met. When there is no other will and the conditions stated are not met intestacy is applied.

For example, A person may set a condition that if she dies of breast cancer 30% of her estate be donated to breast cancer research and the other 70% to her children. Amanda ( !997 ) explains that in situations where the lady do not have another will, the estate will be like one without a will and that is how it will be treated.Ø  Holographic Will : This is a handwritten will, written by the owner and it has no witness or a witness signature.

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Ø  Joint Will : It is a will involving two people who come together and make a single will. In situations like when one person dies, the will passes on the estate of the deceased to the partner.If both passes on the will show how the estates will be distributed. This type of will prevents theremaining partner from changing how the estates will be divided upon his or her deathØ  Living Will : The will is used when the testator’s consciousness can not be restored due to illness or as a result of an accident.Ø  Mirror Will : An identical or almost identical will made up by two people.

If one dies everything goes to the other and in situations when both dies the estates goes to their children or to the named beneficially.Ø  Mutual Will : Two separate wills sharing reciprocal provision. For Example, A married couple may have 2 identical wills, one signed by the wife with the other being signed by the husband.Ø  Nuncupative Will : This is spoken and not written will. It is done orally.Ø  Pour-Over Will : A will that explains how left out assets should be dealt with. It gives a provision of how left out assets are transferred to Trust assets. They will have to go through probate before going to trust.

Ø  Testomentary Trust Will : A trust is provided under a will but it is not effective until the testator dies.CONTENTS OF A WILLA will should contain the following,Ø  assets and their estimated values.Ø  Beneficially : The people to benefit from the assets in the event of the testator’s death.Ø  Guardian : The person responsible to take care of any under eighteen children.Ø  Executors :  They are people who will carry out the testator’s wish in the event of their death.WHEN TO PLAN A WILLWhen one owns property, be it personal, for Example, Cash, Stocks, Jewelry and Furniture, orreal property like land and houses, he or she should plan a will stating who to take what and the amount in the event of their death.

If a married couple is involved, each spouse should have a will.VALID WILLA valid will is made by a person who is at least eighteen years old and is of sound mind. The person must be free from emotional stress and be in good health. He or she must understand the nature of properties they own, their value and the person they want to leave them to in the event of their death.REQUIREMENT OF A VALID WILLA valid will must,Ø  Be in Written form, dated and signed.Ø  The testator must not be forced to write, they must act voluntarily and be free from any influence. They should at least be eighteen years old and of sound mind.

Ø  A testator must append his/her signature witnessed by 2 people.Ø  Be witnessed by two legally competent individuals who should sign it and should not necessarily know the content of the will.BENEFITS OF A WILLA will can help to discover things like,Ø  Name of the testator’s spouses, sons, daughter, grandchildren and other beneficiaries in the will.Ø  Gives a clarification of the relationships with the beneficiaries.

Ø  States the burial place and burial instructions of the testator.Ø  States the occupation of ancestor’s when a will is passed on from one generation to another.Ø  Identifies the testator’s favorite children.Ø  Prevents conflicts between family members as each struggles to get the best from the deceased assets.WRITING A WILLArkell and goose ( 200 ) outlines important factors that needs to be considered before starting the task of writing a will.

The factors are,Assets : All personal assets should be listed down, For Example, bank accounts, houses, land,vehicles, jewelery, Investment accounts and retirement accounts. After listing them down indicate an estimate value of each assetTaxes : Find out if there is any inheritance or estate taxes in your country. If there there is, read and understand them carefully.Beneficiaries : Make a list of all people whom you would like to benefit from your assets in the event of your death.Allocation of Assets : Using the list of beneficiaries prepared determine who gets what andwhat amount. State clearly the allocation of assets to avoid misunderstandings between them,  give some reasons as to why each beneficially got what they got.Executor : An executor is a person who takes the responsibility of carrying out the testator’s wishes in the event of their death. The writer should decide on who to execute the will.

This must be a person whom the writer trust and is honest and should be able to execute the will.Guardian : Decide on who to take care of your children who are under eighteen in the event of death. An alternative guardian should also be decided on to assist in bringing up the minors. The testator could also write some guidelines on how he or she would like the monors to be brought up. This guidelines should be attached to the will.

Trustee or Estate Guardian : This is the person who will manage and take care of the testator’s estates. The testator could also write a manual on how he would like the estates to be managed.Where to keep the Will : The will should be kept in a safe place which is well protected and the place should be easily accessible.

The testator should decide on how to keep the will beforehand.10.       The executors should be informed and updated on the location of the will.CHANGING OR REVOKING A WILLA will can not be changed after the death of the testator. Any changes can be done before his or her death but after that the will becomes effective.

According to Maple and Eliopoulos ( 2002 ), the testator should periodically revise his or her will to update it by reflecting any changes like marriage, birth of new born and owning of more properties. Baines ( 2006 ), states that a simple document known as Codicil is usually used to make any necessary changes or the whole will may be redrafted. To make sure that the required changes are legal and properly made, an Attorney must be consulted.UPDATING A WILLA valid will is one that is periodically reviewed and updated as different circumstances and conditions changes.

Changes that may necessitate updating of the will includes,Ø  Family Changes : This could be as a result of birth, death, divorce, marriage or adoption.Ø  Substantial Changes : It is due to changes in the amount and kind of properties owned.Ø  Tax laws changes : Occurs when the government make some changes in the tax laws.Ø  Residence Change : It occurs when one changes from one geographical to another.Ø  When the trustee or guardian can no longer serve may be due to his or her death or may be terminally sick.

Ø  The testator may decide to make changes on how the wealth should be divided.LONGEVITY OF A WILLA will becomes effective when the testator dies and it remains valid until it is legally revoked orchanged. In certain situations like divorce or death the will sets aside the former spouse unless advised otherwise by the maker. Summer and Gibson (1986 ) states that a valid will must be periodically reviewed to ensure that it is updated in respect to any changes that comes along and that it matches the maker’s intention.

CHALLENGING A WILLA will may be challenged by a person who believes either that the will is invalid or he or she has not been allocated enough assets as stated in the will.KEEPING THE WILL SAFEA will is a very important document that needs to be handled with care and that needs to be kept safely. It contains the final word of the fate of one’s properties which have been attained after long labor and much sacrifices thus it should be respected and protected. It should be kept in a safe place like Bank’s safe deposit vault,at home or with a solicitor. The place should be accessible but well protected and safe. The maker should prepare another copy that states instructions of where the original will is stored. The instructions includes, Bank account numbers, Insurance policies, Credit cards and other financial details.

SERVICES OF AN ATTORNEYSince a will is a very important document,  it’s writing may be complex hence writer needs the help of a well informed person. The process is very critical and it may require legal knowledge, very informed decision-making and may even require co-ordination with some estate planning documentsWILL APPROVALThere are three main factors that determines which court will approve a will, The factors are,Ø  The place where the testator died.Ø  The total value of the assets.Ø  How the assets have been distributed to the beneficially geographically.Reference ListAmanda Bevan, 1997, Tracing Your ancestors In The National Archives, Genealogical Publishers.

Arkell, Evans and Goose, 2000, Understanding and Interpreting The Probate Records, New York, Alpha Books Publishers.Baines K. Barry, 2006, Putting Your Values On Paper, Wales, DA Capo Press.Chambers Paul, 2006, Research Your Family History, Pascal, Pascal Publishers.

Derek Fazaka, 2004, Wills And Estates, Canada, Emond Publication.Gibson and Churghil, 2002, Probate Jurisdictions- Where To Look For Wills, Ireland, Genealogical Publishers.Jeremy and Wycherley, 1986, Probate Jurisdictions- Where To Look For Wills, Ireland, Genealogical Publishers.Karen G. and Nigel, 2004, Wills And Other Probate Record, Canada, Emond Publication.Maple and Eliopoulos, 2002, Guide To Wills And Estates, New York, Alpha Publishers.Stuart Raymond,  1997, Words From Wills And Other Probate Records, Canada, Emond Publication. 


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