A will is an instrument for a person to ensure that when they die their assets are distributed in line with their wishes. In the event a person dies without a Will, they are said to have died intestate. In such a case the laws of inheritance would apply – which specify who in the persons immediate family inherits his or her assets; and the percentage that would be inherited by them. This would be irrespective of their personal relationship or behaviour towards the deceased; and would also not account for any other persons who the deceased cares for; or would like to provide for; if they are not covered by the applicable inheritance laws.
Therefore, if a person has a desire to ensure that his or her assets are distributed as per their wishes on their death, a Will is necessary.
Wills can reduce any dispute or confusion in the family
Although there is no guarantee that a Will won’t be challenged by a relative, especially one who feels they have been left out, a Will can remove confusion or dispute by making it clear to the family on what a persons wishes were. It would be good to also speak to the Family where possible to let them know of your wishes; and to appoint an executor who will carry out your wishes as detailed in the Will.
As far as possible one should be specific in the Will.
In very rare instances Courts may allow Wills to be disputed when there is a reason to believe that the Will may not be legitimate or made by a person not of sound mind at the time of making the Will.
Wills can provide for specific needs
In the event you would like to provide for a member of the family, a friend or caretaker beyond what is provided for under the laws of inheritance – a Will is the only way in which this can be provided. For instance, in the event of a Child or Grandchild that has special needs, providing something specifically for the child can be taken care of via a Will.
Wills give you an opportunity to share your views
Personal views and opinions on the distribution, and even the ultimate disposal / sale of assets can be shared with the family
Wills can overrule the rights under the laws of inheritance
Wills are the expression of the deceased’s desire on the treatment and distribution of their estate – and overrules any rights under the law of inheritance that may apply to self-earned property (but may continue to apply to ancestral property). One can write the will to provide for any person not adequately provided for under the laws of inheritance; or even to penalise a family member who would otherwise benefit under the laws of inheritance
A will can also be beneficial from an estate tax planning perspective; and can also provide for the establishment of a trust.