About Emily Deane
Ms Deane is a former Associate in the firm’s property and private client practice group specializing in residential and commercial property transactions, estate planning, wills, trusts and probate.
It is essential that every individual, regardless of age, makes their own Will. If you die without making a Will then you die intestate which means that a court can distribute your assets in accordance with the law at that time. This may result in your home and hard earned investments being distributed to siblings, cousins, even further removed relatives or the Bermuda Government! It is fundamental that you make a Will in order to maintain control over your assets even when you have passed.
There are a few options when contemplating making your Will.
- You can write your own Will or you can chose to complete one of the do-it-yourself Will writing kits. Unfortunately both of these options are fraught with difficulties. There are many scenarios where using a home-made Will can prove to be inappropriate and counter-productive. Your wishes may be clear, however the written Will may not always support these wishes. The very last thing anyone wants when they write their Will is for their assets and property not to be left to the intended beneficiary. If certain technicalities have not been followed when preparing and executing your Will then it may be deemed completely invalid or worse, it may be ambiguous and legal proceedings will ensue in order to determine the content. Legal proceedings will of course diminish the value of your estate due to potentially large legal bills leaving your beneficiaries less than you intended.
- The alternative is to ask an attorney to draw up a Will on your behalf. Your attorney will take your precise instructions whilst guiding you through any grey areas that may be unclear to you. Your attorney will also take detailed notes on your instructions which can be recovered at a later date in the event that your wishes are called into question by a hopeful or expectant beneficiary whom you did not intend to benefit. If your attorney can provide evidence of your precise instructions then the expectant beneficiary will usually have no recourse by way of legal proceedings. Attorneys are qualified and work under the strict guidelines of the Wills Act 1988 which sets out all requirements that a Will must comply with in order to be valid.
Of course instructing an attorney will involve some additional costs however these are more than offset by the reassurance gained by knowing that the most important document you’re ever likely to need has been drawn up by a legally qualified and experienced practitioner. Your attorney may also be prepared to visit you in the comfort of your own home if you have limited mobility. Speaking of your home, it is important to know how the ownership of your property is documented and if you are unsure, this is something your attorney will clarify for you. Moreover, your attorney will give you the best possible indication of the costs of their services prior to beginning any work on your behalf so you will not be subject to “unending” fees.
The greatest advantage of using an attorney to prepare your Will is the peace of mind it will bring you. It’s a great comfort to know that an attorney will construct your Will in precisely the way you want and ensure that all of your wishes are carried out following your death. Using an attorney will ensure that no technical mistakes are made, and that there will also be no inadvertent potential disputes prone for the future.