Making a Will

17 Ways to Make a Will

types of wills

A will can be drafted to cover any individual, unique circumstance.

Here are some examples of wills:

  1. Gift of an entire estate to one person, making that person executor/trix with a gift over in the event that that person dies within a stated period, for example 30 days, of the death of the testator
  2. Gift of an entire estate to individuals, including children, in equal shares for their own benefit and use absolutely
  3. Gift of an entire estate to brothers and sisters and to the children of a pre-deceased sibling
  4. Gift of an entire estate to parents
  5. Creating a settlement of property on parents by giving them a life interest for their joint lives with remainder over to brothers and sisters
  6. A will settling property on a discretionary trust for the benefit of parents during their joint lives with remainder to brothers and sisters
  7. A will making provision for an elderly brother or sister
  8. A will leaving everything to spouse or partners with substitutional provisions for children in the event that the spouse passes away at the same time in a catastrophic accident eg car crash or airplane going down
  9. A will leaving some of the estate to spouse or partner with residue to children once they reach a certain age eg 18/21/25, but trustees having discretion until the children reach the age
  10. A will leaving everything to spouse/partners and then to Trustees on a discretionary trust
  11. A will leaving everything to Trustees to be held on discretionary trust
  12. A will leaving everting to children after the death of a spouse, with a discretionary trust to benefit a child with a mental incapacity or disability
  13. A will of a single person/divorced/widow/widower with no children leaving all to a large extended family with residue going to grandnieces and nephews who are all under 18 years
  14. A will leaving everything to one person for life with an absolute gift over to someone else
  15. A will leaving everything to a spouse for life with gift over to children
  16. A will for an unmarried couple with minor children, providing that the will is not to be revoked on marriage of the couple
  17. A will leaving everything to children and grandchildren providing for the use of all possible CAT threshold exemptions.

These wills show you what is possible in providing for your loved ones, and they can be adapted easily to match your particular circumstance.

The 17 types of wills above is not an exhaustive list, by any means.

Let me say that again: just because I have listed 17 types of wills does not mean that you cannot have a will made for your particular set of circumstances.

Also, you should also consider changing your will, if you have one, if your circumstances change, as they inevitably will during your life.

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Making a Will

6 Critical Reasons Why You Should Make a Will


reasons to make a will

There are many important reasons why you should make a will. Here are 6 of them:

  1. You decide how your assets will be distributed on your death

If you don’t make a will, an intestacy situation arises. This means Your estate will be distributed in accordance with the Succession Act, 1965. This is very unlikely to be as you might want it.

Also, who can administer your estate will be dictated by Court Rules. Again, this may see a situation arise where someone you would not want will be looking after your affairs after your death.

  1. Children-a will allows you to provide for children and the special needs of a loved one

This is especially important when you have minor (under 18) children. Also, with Minor children you will need to consider the need to appoint guardians and/or trustees.

These are people who will look after your children’s assets until they come of age and will make decisions about their health, religion, education etc. if both you and the other parent are involved in a catastrophic accident and pass away at the same time. You may also wish to set up a trust.

  1. Smart tax planning- a will can ensure the minimum amount of tax going to the State, unlike in an intestacy situation where there is no discretion
  2. It is cheaper and faster to administer your estate with a will, rather than an intestacy
  3. You choose who handles your affairs on death rather than having the law decide

The person you choose will be your executor. If you do not make a will the rules of Court will determine who is eligible to administer your estate.

  1. Peace of mind-the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you are not leaving problems behind for your loved ones when you pass away is priceless

This is the most important reason for most people.

Some Important questions to consider

  • Should you appoint more than 1 executor?

It can be a good idea to appoint more than 1 executor (an executor is the person who administers the estate of the deceased)

  • Gift over clause-do you need a “gift over” clause to benefit your grandchildren in the event of your child predeceasing you?

Without this clause in your will whatever you had decided to go to a predeceased child will go to his/her spouse. You may not want this and prefer that it go to his/her child(ren). If that is the case, you need to make provision for this in your will.

Common mistakes when making a will

Some common mistakes when making a will include:

  1. Alternative executors-if you appoint alterative executors your will fails for uncertainty
  2. A witness or his spouse cannot benefit under the will
  3. A will is revoked by marriage, but not by divorce
  4. Lack of clarity causing the will to fail-if a will is poorly worded and the intention or meaning is unclear this can cause the will to fail. And before it fails a dispute may well have arisen as to the meaning or intention of the words in the will and this can lead to an expensive legal dispute with the estate being diminished to pay legal costs.


A will trust allows you to put assets into the ownership of trustees for the ultimate benefit of someone else. Trusts can be very useful for different reasons, for example, in protecting assets you wish to pass to a loved one who has had their financial difficulties. Your bequest may be at the mercy of creditors and creating a trust is one way to make provision for this scenario.

Learn more about will trusts here.

Contact Terry now to arrange your will.