Will Writing

Congratulations! If you have read this far, then you are likely to be ready to take the crucial decision to do the due by writing a will. It’s wonderful that you have not delayed. We want to get started right away. The key rules here are twain: Firstly, keep it simple. Secondly, make it clear and unambiguous. Here are the steps to take:

4.1 Complete the Wills Checklist in this Book.

4.2 Contact your lawyer with the completed checklist.

4.3 Issue written instructions to your lawyer to draft you a will.

4.4. Your lawyer is expected to seek clarification from you and guide you as he interviews you.

4.5 Your lawyer will question you about previous wills or codicils. he may record the interview or take notes.

4.6 Lawyers’ fees will usually depend on your bargaining power as well as complexity of your estate. Note, however, that a skilfully drawn will saves a lot of trouble.

4.7. Avoid Ambiguity

The Probate Registry’s nightmare is the unclear meaning in many home-made wills. It is best to utilize the services of a good lawyer as any ambiguity, whether in the usage of a word or a phrase, must be avoided. After a lawyer has drafted your will, read it to ensure it says what you mean to happen.

When writing your will, you must state clearly, using full names, who is to receive the gift as well as giving a full description of the item or items named. For instance, if you have 3 cars and you want your favourite nephew to receive one, then describe the car precisely. Give the colour, model, registration number and any small detail that can help in identifying the car. Also provide your nephew’s full name, current or last known address and other contacts.

4.8 Your will should avoid long and uncommon words, phrases and sentences.

4.9 Ordinary (not technical) words should be used.

4.10 Avoid intricate expressions.

4.11 Avoid verbosity.

4.12 Avoid archaic words.

4.13 Be precise in the language of your will.

4.14 Be sure to proofread.

Be sure to carefully proofread your will, whether you write it yourself or your lawyer does. For instance, does page 9 follow page 8? 1f you are leaving percentages of your estate to different people, do the percentages add up to 100?

4.15 Avoid precatory language

Give clear instructions with expressions such as ‘I give’, ‘I direct’ and so on. Terms like ‘It is my wish that….’ might be taken to be merely an expression of hope, not an order. Such language could invite a court challenge.

4.16 Residuary clause

This is one of the most crucial parts of a will, covering all assets not specifically disposed of by the will. You will probably accumulate assets after you write your will and if you haven’t specifically given asset to someone, it will not pass through the will unless you have a RESIDUARY CLAUSE that covers everything. If your will omits a residuary clause, the assets not left specifically to anyone would pass on through the intestate succession laws, possibly after long delays and extensive court involvement. No matter how small your residuary estate seems at the time you write your will, you should be sure your will distributes it. If your intention is to leave it to more than one person, specify the percentages or fractions (sharing formula).


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