Will writing is a spooky topic for many people. It’s the kind of thing you normally associate with the elderly, terminally ill and really bad daytime television. It’s taboo for some to even talk about it because they fear it as a symbol of death. Seriously though, wills aren’t scary ghost papers.
A will (also known as “last will and testament”) is a legally recognized document that allows you to choose how you want to distribute your assets, create inheritances for your loved ones, name guardians for your children etc. It’s a recording of your final wishes which are to be carried out when you kick the bucket. In the legal world, if you leave a will when you move on, you are said to have died testate but if you don’t leave a will, you are said to have died intestate. For non-Muslims, the government freezes your estates (property, money etc.) upon your death.
“Oh dear, I was too busy looking at internet pictures of cats wearing make-up to ponder the frailty of humankind and now I’m dead. What’s going to happen to my stuff if I don’t have a will?” Well Mr. I-Died-Intestate, your family will have to go through a lengthy legal process in order to regain your assets. A lot of potential problems may arise – for example, it’s easier for family members to challenge each other over who gets what (maybe with a high speed drag race or a gladiator style death match?) which only serves to lengthen the legal process. All because you didn’t write instructions down.
If you died testate, your family will have an easier time of carrying out your wishes and regaining your assets. In a will, there must be at least one executor. Whoever you appoint is, upon your passing, the executor(s) of your will and must carry out your final wishes such as funeral arrangements, paying your debts, helping to unfreeze your assets etc. The process is usually simpler, costs less and often takes less time to execute.
See? Not spooky right? It’s generally better to have a will especially if you have a family of your own. In the next post, we’ll be covering what to write in your will, what happens when your will is executed and procedures required by your family if you died intestate.
PS. In case you were wondering about cats wearing make-up: