Will Writing 101 Part 3 - Writing a will – how do I do it?

Will Writing 101 Part 3 - Writing a will – how do I do it?

Will Writing 101 Part 3 – Writing a will – how do I do it?

by | Will Basics 101

Having read 10 things to do before you write your will, you must now be ready to write your will.  You have collated all the information, made the tough decisions.  You have had all the difficult discussions with loved ones and people you wish to act for you after you die.  So what happens next?


Armed with your preparation, it’s time to seek professional advice.  I am asked quite often if writing your own will or using a web sourced DIY will is sufficient.  These templates are basic and would suffice for a simple will.  However, few people have simple circumstances!  A DIY will is insufficient if you meet any of the following example criteria:

  • If you are residing outside of your country or origin
  • If you reside in country with specific inheritance law
  • if you have young children
  • if you have assets in different countries
  • if you are part of a blended family
  • if you are likely to inherit money yourself
  • if you come from a country with forced succession law
  • if you come from a country with death or estate tax


Once you have found a will drafter with whom you feel confident and secure, there will be a series of one to one meetings.  The first meeting will allow the will writer to establish three important things – your situation and your capacity.


Firstly, you will need to prove your identity!  Confirmation by passport or national identity document will be required to prevent fraud.


Your situation, established from your personal detail, history, family tree and circumstances, will allow the will writer to begin to establish your needs.   Where are you living now and where you are going too?  Knowing where you plan to retire, or just a 5 year look ahead, is useful in deciding what laws will apply to you and where.  This will give the drafter some areas to research in further detail.


Finally establishing your capacity is a legal requirement for some countries and best practice for the rest.  I must ascertain, to the best of my ability, that anyone commissioning a will has the mental capacity to do so and is acting of their own free will.  They must understand what a will is and the consequence of it.  They must also be free from coercion and outside pressures.  For married couples, this may require individual meetings to confirm.


After this initial interview, the will writer will should use your information to begin forming an estate plan.  Once the outline of this is prepared, a second meeting will be had to confirm you are happy with the plan, collect any outstanding information and sign an engagement letter for will services.


The will writer will now deliver on the plan and the wills required will be drafted.  External specialists may be used for other jurisdictions and financial planners may be called upon for tax, insurance and other wealth advice.


A draft will be created and read through with the client.  They must have ‘knowledge and approval’ of the contents of the will.  They must be satisfied their wishes have been met.


A final draft will be issued and this will be executed by the law under which it was written.  This may require visiting a notary or embassy and will likely always require witnesses to the act.  A will signing should always be supervised by the drafter if possible, even if its by Skype!


You now have a legally binding will!


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