A ‘Will’ is one of the most known testamentary documents which is used in bequeathing the estate of a person. A ‘Will’ is a written document that allows individuals to direct the way their inheritance would be maintained and divided after their demise. It is a legal document by which a person expresses his/her wishes as to how his/her property is to be distributed at death. It is a unilateral document that takes effect upon the death of a person who had made a Will.
A person who made ‘Will’ is known as Testator. The Testator must be a major and of sound mind at the time of making the Will. The persons to whom the estate is bequeathed in terms of Will are known as beneficiaries. The Testator shall appoint a person known as ‘Executor’ who shall take the responsibility of implementing the directions of the Testator made in the Will. Every Will should be attested by the two witnesses known to the testator.
Any kind of property owned by a person whether movable or immovable, tangible or intangible, financial assets and any right in property can be bequeathed by Will. A Will enables the Testator to determine who shall inherit his/her assets on death. It provides clarity on the rights & obligations of the beneficiaries and facilitates seamless inheritance of one’s estate. It will also make it easier for your loved ones to deal with your affairs when you are gone.
A ‘Will’ can be modified or revoked at any time during the life of the Testator. Registration of Will is optional. It is recommended to register the Will as it records the date, time, and place of presentation of documents for registration, the signature of the Testator, and the identifying witnesses. The burden of proof to prove Will has been duly and satisfactorily discharged.
In certain cases, ‘Probate’ of the Will is required that grants the legal powers to execute the Will. The Probate is granted to the Executor of the Will by the District Court. In the absence of Executor, ‘Letter of Administration’ issued by the District Court needs to be obtained for the Execution of Will.
Dying without a ‘Will’ adds all sorts of complications to the legal heirs and involves the cost, delay and disputes in the inheritance of the estate.