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What is a will?

A will is a signed legal document containing your instructions and wishes for how your assets are to be distributed among your heirs. A will can be prepared at any age. Those to whom assets in the will are distributed are called heirs or beneficiaries. 

A will includes all of your property, such as land, bank accounts, furniture, investments, homes, vehicles, insurance policies, and more. A will is valid if a court approves it, and the process for a court to validate a will is called Probate. If the will is not properly made and executed, the court will not accept it and not issue a Grant of Probate (the proof the will was valid and outlining the instructions). For any person who dies suddenly and does not have a will the rules of the court of that jurisdiction will be applied over the assets and the court will decide the asset distribution.

A will is important because it avoids arguments among beneficiaries and expresses the maker’s wishes. A valid will should include the following:

  • The will should be in writing: typed, hand-written, or printed.

  • The document should have the maker’s signature.

  • At the time the maker signs the document, there should be at least two witnesses. 

  • The two witnesses need to sign and date the document at the same time as the maker.

Not following the above procedure might render the will unacceptable to the court.

Published: Sep 25, 2022

Updated: Aug 17, 2022

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