What’s the value of a will? Nobody likes to talk about dying.
But people die. It’s an undeniable fact of life.
They die every day.
So, is there value in preparing a will?
When a person dies without a will, it’s not the end of the world. The deceased person’s property will be distributed among his family according to the formula fixed by law.
This is the formula fixed by the Distribution Act 1958.
But there may be better ways of dividing property.
That’s where you’ll discover the value of a will.
Assets can be allocated with equality, or with wisdom.
For example, if there are four children and four assets, every asset will be divided among four children. That’s equality. (But it may not be wise.)
The deceased may intend that each asset be given to a certain child. That’s wisdom. (But it may not be equal.)
That’s one way, a will is valuable. It allows you to decide who gets what.
And because it’s you, it’s likely that the kids will accept it.
Either that, or they all conspire to have their own arrangements. (Which, if you’re not around anymore, should not bother you.)
Another situation is that, you may want to leave all the assets to your wife, instead of passing it on to your kids.
Some couples do what’s called “mutual wills“: If one partner passes away, all the wealth goes to the other partner. If the other partner is dead, all the wealth goes to the children.
Couples doing the mutual wills thing, tend to do it together.
After all, kids can be immature, and easily conned of their inheritance.
But there’s also a possibility that the surviving spouse squander the wealth and deprive the kids of their inheritance.
A worse scenario arises when the surviving spouse remarries, and then passes away, while holding the bulk of assets. The new surviving spouse of the surviving spouse (who is now deceased) will then inherit a chunk of the estate of the deceased.
Where does that leave the kids?
If there was a will in the first place, it would be a valuable safeguard for unforeseen events.
Trustee and Trust Companies
A person can appoint a trustee to deal with his estate after his death, according to his directions.
This is premised on the trustee being a trustworthy individual who discharges his or her duties honestly.
Nowadays, there are professional trustee companies. These are companies which can act as your trustee. They are established under the Trust Companies Act 1949.
They can administer your estate the way you want, for a professional fee.
Value of a will is long term
A will can be a helpful instrument in helping family financial planning. In the right hands, there can be proper planning for years and years to come.
But a will can also be a simple instrument and still serve a purpose.
There’s no way to place a price on peace of mind. It’s priceless.
A will can be valuable , more than the fees that a person pays for his will to be drawn up.
And because a will can be revoked or superseded, it’s not final until the point of death.
A will can be a way to establish an interim position and have it stand as the final version, if there are no changes required.
A will can be changed, if a son or daughter is getting divorced.
Smart, rich, old people know that they can get a will done every year, if necessary.
I’ve heard someone say, “You’re good to me? Put you in. You’re bad to me? Take you out.”
A will can be a sort of insurance for old folks to make sure their children and their children’s spouses will treat them well.
If you’re interested in getting a will done, consider talking to a lawyer.
Thanks for reading.
This article was prepared for general information only. Please consult with a qualified lawyer if you have any concerns.
And if you need a consultation, we’re happy to talk to you.