Kith & Kin

How to write a will: Checklist of what you should include in your will

woman's hand writing checklist of what you should include in your will

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

In will writing, you want to make sure that you create a legally binding document so your provisions can be upheld when you die. You accomplish this by taking into account all relevant and necessary information such as the details of your entire estate, state laws, and the persons that will be named in your will.

You may find yourself wondering whether do you need a lawyer to write a will, or searching online to discover ‘how do you write a will and testament’. While it is not necessary to enlist the help of a lawyer, they can provide valuable insights to will writing.

Nevertheless, you can learn how to write a will on your own. To ensure that you are not forgetting anything in your will writing, here is a checklist on what you should include in your will:

1. A list of all your assets

This includes property, cash, investments, personal possessions, and anything of value that you own. If you have a pension or life policy that says that it will be paid directly into your estate on your death, then this must be listed too.

Details about each of these should be included to help your executor of will in identifying and locating them.

For property:

  • Address of the property
  • Title number at the Land Registry (if known)
  • Indicate if it is freehold or leasehold

For other assets:

  • Account number for bank and investment accounts
  • The registration number for vehicles
  • Details of any organization or business in which you have an interest, such as their registered address and company registration number

For personal possession (jewellery, paintings or other items of actual or sentimental values):

  • Enough information to be able to identify them precisely

2. A list of all your liabilities

This provides vital information regarding the real value of your estate. In your will writing, remember also to indicate any outstanding debts on your properties (such as mortgages) or any other debts or financial commitments. You can also state how you want your debts to be paid off before your assets are distributed to the beneficiaries.

3. The beneficiaries and the amount they are to receive

Write down who will be receiving your estate, and the portion that you want them to be entitled to.

It is important to list their names and addresses unless you are referring to them in terms of specific relationships such as ‘my children’ or ‘my brothers and sisters’.

If you have minor children, you should consider someone you trust to care and bring up your children. When doing your will writing, it is also advisable to name reserve (i.e. backup) beneficiaries in the event of simultaneous death.

4. The names and addresses of executors and trustees

The executor, who may also be one of your beneficiaries, is the person you choose to administer your estate. If you are setting up a trust for your minor children, the trustee will be responsible for managing the assets in the trust.

5. Additional instructions to include on the will

Through writing a will, you can specify your funeral wishes or other conditions that must be fulfilled before your beneficiaries can gain access to their share of the estate.

How to write a will: other important information to specify

  • The names of your advisors (if your executor will have to consult professionals like lawyers and accountants you have worked with)
  • A revocation clause for old wills
  • A residuary clause that allocates any remainder of your estate according to your wishes. This will be enacted in cases wherein a beneficiary dies before you, then the asset bequeathed to them becomes the remainder.

How to write a will: requirements to remember

Make sure that you sign your will in front of two witnesses who are of legal age, and who are not beneficiaries of the will, nor spouses of your beneficiaries. These witnesses must also sign your will in your presence.

Will writing may seem like an arduous task, but by being keen on details, you ensure that your will can be enforced after you have passed away. If you are considering learning how to write a will on your own, make sure to include the items mentioned above.

In most cases, it will be helpful to have a professional’s advice. A wills lawyer will be able to provide you with legal insights on the process of changing or writing a will.

Here at Kith & Kin Law Corporation, we offer expert advice on Will Writing Singapore with the conviction to provide the best approach based on our client’s personal circumstances and needs.

If you would like for us to review your will with you, send us a message today.