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The 10 step guide to Property Wills

1. Why You Need A Will If you die without a valid will, you become intestate, which means that your estate and properties will be shared based on the national laws that outline who inherits what. Since you named no executor, a judge then appoints an administrator who is bound by the letter of the […]

1. Why You Need A Will

If you die without a valid will, you become intestate, which means that your estate and properties will be shared based on the national laws that outline who inherits what. Since you named no executor, a judge then appoints an administrator who is bound by the letter of the probate laws of your estate. This administrator then begins the process of probate; transferring properties of a deceased to rightful heirs. Administrators often have no connections to the families involved and as such perform their job according to book. This means that sometimes people you intend to receive certain properties might not receive it, or all of it.

2. Properties To Include In Your Will

There are properties that you should carry out an inventory on and could be included when writing a property will, these include:

  • Business properties
  • Savings
  • Personal properties
  • Furniture
  • Jewelry
  • Real estate
  • Royalties and securities

3. Properties To Not Include in Your Will

There are certain properties that should not be included when writing your will as they would be considered invalid, these properties include:

  • Trust Properties:

Property placed in trust automatically passes to the beneficiary named in the trust document. As such, they cannot be given out to other beneficiaries named in a will.

  • Properties with a right of survivorship:

Property held in joint tenancy or community tenancy with a right of survivorship automatically     belongs to co-owner(s) after your death.

  • Properties with already assigned beneficiaries:

Certain properties require that beneficiaries be assigned when they are purchased and these properties should not be included in your will.

4. How to write a property will

Wills are considered documents dictating the inheritors of your assets at your death.  Wills work for small holdings in the same way as they do for larger holdings. There are however details which must be considered about how these wills are written for them to be properly executed. These steps include:

  • Before writing a will, it is important that you take note of the legal age requirements. In theUK, it is required that the testator (you) be over 18 or more.

You must also be in a sound state of mind for your will to be considered valid, that is you must understand that you are making a will, know who you want to inherit your properties and also in a general sense as well comprehend your devises.

  • The will form is then to be filled with information about yourself, your name, address and also an executor. The executor in this case gathers your assets, pays outstanding dues and executes your desires as contained in your will after your death. Often, the will executor is usually the testator’s solicitor.
  • The will should also contain specific details of which properties would be inherited and who gets them.  Street address should be used for properties, identify bank and investment account number. Also name a residuary beneficiary who inherits properties that were not specifically bequeathed.
  • Also include any other conditions you desire before an heir receives the property and confirm that you have included all the beneficiaries you want.
  • After which you sign the will, the will must be signed by two witnesses who cannot be named heirs in the will. Identify the document as your only will and sign alongside your two witnesses.

5. Passing On Details About Your Property

When writing out your will, there are details about your properties which do not belong in your will but are necessary, these include:

  • The location of some items
  • Location of ownership, warranty and appraisal papers
  • Directions for maintain the property
  • As well as value of significant items.

This information could be contained in letter of instruction attached to your will.

6. Leaving Specific Items To Specific Heirs

Your will should clearly indicate which of your properties you intend to leave to certain heirs. In addition to this, you could also create “Letter of instruction” to be kept in your will.

Alternatively but risky, you could leave everything to a trusted person who knows your wishes for distributing your personal items and would do so without fail. This is risky as said individual might, in the long run, not act in accordance with your wishes.

7. When Can A Beneficiary Be Disqualified From A Will

Often, will beneficiaries (heirs) could be disqualified from receiving the benefits left to them in a will. There are quite a number of reasons for this which include:

  • Divorce and Separation:

When spouses are divorced, the spouse is not entitled to inherit benefits from their separated partners. As such, to make provisions for your divorced partner, you need to make a new will especially if the divorce and legal separation is final.

  • Witnesses and Executors:

Witnesses and executors are not legally allowed to be beneficiaries of your will. Thi is usually to avoid a conflict of interest and claims of fraud in the will writing process.

  • Criminal Actions:

If your death is as a result of murder or manslaughter, the perpetrator if a beneficiary is disqualified from inheriting from you.

8. How often do property wills need to be updated

You could choose to update your will regularly or you could choose not to at all. The only version of the will which matters at your death is your most current one.  At pivotal moments in your life such as marriage, birth of a child, the death of a beneficiary, you would have to make changes to your will to cater for these new additions or even more losses.

9. Keeping A Property Will

Wills could be kept in a waterproof and fire-proof safe at your home or in a safety deposit box. Other copies should be kept with your solicitor in case the original is destroyed. A probate court usually requires that an original copy be presented before the estate can be processed as such, this document therefore needs to be kept safe.

10. Contesting A Will

Wills can be contested for a number for reasons among which includes a beneficiary who feels slighted by the terms of the will. Furthermore, if the will wasn’t properly witnessed or if you weren’t competent when you signed it, the will could also the contested as invalid.

Property wills contain the desires and wishes of an individual concerning how they want their properties to be shared amongst their named beneficiaries after their death. Property wills are very sensitive as a result care must be taken when writing them out to ensure that they are legal and would not be considered invalid at the time of sharing.

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