Did you know you cannot put a directive or wish in a will that violates the law?
The best way to write a will is to use the services of a professional will writer to make sure its contents are legal. You can also contact a local solicitor or lawyer to see if they offer will writing services.
How to Write a Will in …
United Kingdom – You can use a professional will writer or a solicitor to write your will.
Australia – Will writing is regulated by the government. Only a public trustee or private trustee is able to write a will for you. The public trustee can write your will only if they are acting as executor of your estate.
United States – Many law firms offer will writing as part of their estate and tax planning services. A paralegal can write a will as well, in case you cannot afford to use a lawyer.
Canada – Will writing is reserved for lawyers. Paralegals are not allowed to write wills, powers of attorney or deal with other estate matters.
What Kind of Will can be Written?
These are some of the most common types of wills:
- A holograph will is when you write your own will (also known as a do-it-yourself or DIY will). No witnesses are required.
Although a holograph will is legal, it is extremely easy to be challenged and overturned since it implies you have not taken any professional or legal advice.
Therefore, it’s highly likely a DIY will is not in line with legal requirements.
It could also be challenged as your mental capacity may be called into question since there are no witnesses present.
- A self-proved will is a type of will that is validated by attaching an affidavit which is signed by the witnesses to the will in front of an officer authorized to administer oaths, such as a Notary Public.
The purpose of this “self-proving affidavit” is to confirm that the witnesses actually saw you sign the will and alleviates the need to obtain affidavits from the witnesses after you die. This is another type of DIY will.
- Mirror wills are when partners make a will that effectively mirror each other, although there can be slight differences between them.
These are popular but not necessarily the best way to ensure the people you care about the most will receive their inheritance. Ask us about “sideways disinheritance.”
- Mutual wills are usually setup for married couples. These wills cannot be revoked, so when the first partner dies the second cannot revoke the will to make it invalid.
To make a mutual will there must be evidence of binding intentions that the estate must be distributed in a certain way. The wills can be revoked by mutual consent before anyone dies.
- A living will is for laying out your medical wishes in how you would like to be treated in the event of a medical crisis where you unable to make decisions for yourself.
A living will can set out advanced statements or decisions about your care and treatment. However, it does not address how to handle your estate.