How to draw up a will

Preparing a will can be a surprisingly emotional experience. It is an opportunity to think about who is closest to you and how your money will help them after you die.

Preparing a will can be a surprisingly emotional experience. It is an opportunity to think about who is closest to you and how your money will help them after you die.

It is also a chance to plan your funeral and leave instructions for your family and friends. Your will should describe in detail how your estate should be distributed, says Nita Maru at TWS Legal Consultants. “It should also make somebody responsible to carrying out the directions, known as the executor, name guardians for any children, and set up trusts to pass your wealth on to your family.”

Being an executor is a responsible role. Make sure the people you appoint understand their responsibilities before agreeing. If you have young children, it is wise to appoint separate executors and guardians, so that no one person has total control of both your children’s money and decisions over their upbringing. Never appoint your spouse as your sole executor, in case you die together. Remember that you can make specific legacies, say, to a charity.

You can write your own will using a pack downloaded from the internet for just a few dollars, but think twice before doing that, Ms Maru says. “Even then the slightest error or misunderstanding can cause disputes or make your will invalid.” Your will has to be signed and witnessed correctly. “Witnesses cannot also be beneficiaries of the will, while amending a will incorrectly or marking it after completion can be seen as tampering,” Ms Maru says.

The cost of the will largely depends on its complexity, says Keren Bobker of Holborn Assets. “We charge Dh2,850 for a relatively straightforward single will, or Dh4,850 for ‘mirror’ wills for husband and wife. This includes a consultation with an experienced lawyer.”

Once you’ve written your will, update it regularly. Marriage, divorce, children, the death of a beneficiary, or the death of a named executor or trustee, should all trigger a review.

Finally, keep a copy of your will in a safe place, such as with your solicitor or a bank.

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Published: May 23, 2014 04:00 AM

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