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The Importance of Making a Will

Dr. Guy E. Carmi Esq. Lawyer and Notary

Whether you make a Will or not, you will surely die. A Will will not hasten your demise. It will, however, affect your loved ones who are left behind.

If you don't have a Will, that is, if you die intestate, then the default-will in the Inheritance Act (1965) takes effect. It is far from optimal. What are the default-will's faults?
First of all, it may leave to others to decide possible interpretations of your status or relationships.

For example, if you are officially married, your wife or husband would inherit everything, including your moveable property, if you have no children or other close relatives, half of your estate if you do have children or two thirds of your estate if you have other surviving relatives, such as parents or siblings. If you are about to divorce, and leave no Will, your spouse would still inherit your assets in the above proportions. Similarly, if you have a significant other, but you are not officially married, than his or her rights to inherit from you would require establishing your joint status as a common law marriage. Why leave such crucial aspects in the hand of others? Secondly, the default rule that splits half of your assets to your spouse, and the other half for your children, is a recipe for trouble.

For example, one of my clients was sued by his children from his first wife who died in their childhood, because they wanted their share of his apartment. This could have been avoided if he and his wife had had a Will. You can still ensure that the children eventually inherit their share via the mechanism of a mutual Will, which restricts the spouse who dies second from altering their mutual Will.
Thirdly, even if you have children, and you wish to distribute your assets equally among them, you should do this in a smart manner. For example, if some of your kids are minor, or even not legally minor but young, you may want to create a trust to ensure the money is preserved and well spent.
These are just some of the reasons to stop procrastinating, and to make a smart Will today. Even if you have a Will, it is best practice to review it every several years to ensure its relevance.

 

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Friday, 19 July 2024

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