Tips For A Perfect Will

We spend our lives working to provide for ourselves and our loved ones. You may have a house or flat, shares, savings, investments as well as your personal possessions. All of these assets are your 'estate'. Making a will ensures that when you die your estate is shared according to your wishes.

Outlines the necessary features of a will:

- Your will lets you decide what happens to your money, property and possessions after your death.

- You can write your will yourself, but you should get legal advice, to make sure your will is interpreted in the way you wanted.

- You need to get your will formally witnessed and signed to make it legally valid.

- If you want to update your will, you need to make an official alteration (called a ‘codicil’) or make a new will.

Your will should set out:

  • who you want to benefit from your will 
  • who should look after any children under 18 
  • who is going to sort out your estate and carry out your wishes after your death (your executor) 
  • what happens if the people you want to benefit die before you 
Get advice from a professional if your will isn’t straightforward, eg:
  • you share a property with someone who isn’t your husband, wife or civil partner 
  • you want to leave money or property to a dependant who can’t care for themselves 
  • you have several family members who may make a claim on your will, eg a second spouse or children from another marriage 
  • your permanent home is outside the SA 
  • you have property overseas 
  • you have a business 
For your will to be legally valid, you must:
  • be 18 or over 
  • make it voluntarily 
  • be of sound mind 
  • make it in writing 
  • sign it in the presence of 2 witnesses who are both over 18 
  • have it signed by your 2 witnesses, in your presence 
  • If you make any changes to your will you must follow the same signing and witnessing process. 
Decide how to look after your will and let your executor know where it is. Always make sure your executor can get to your will without probate. Never store it in a bank safety deposit box as the bank can’t open the box until the executor gets probate (permission from the court to administer your aff airs) and probate can’t be granted without the will. You can leave it with your solicitor and you should also get a copy.