Q: Why should we give you the Identity Numbers or dates of birth of our heirs?
A: It can be hard to understand when it is your will and your family members why we would need their personal details but the most common reason for such is the time between when one drafts their will and when they pass away a lot can happen. Your family members could have moved or died themselves and most likely have become untraceable – when this happens the only way to trace them is through their ID numbers or date of birth. Its also important to note that the Master’s office doesn’t know you or your family and deal with millions of people with similar or exact names and need proper clear identification. Clarity and intention are the number one thing looked at by the courts and the Master’s office when a testator drafts a will and when they look at validity.
Q: what is the difference between the terms Testator and Testatrix?
A: The term Testator is the male name for someone who drafts a will, and a Testatrix is the female version. This is the same with the terms Executor and Executrix.
Q: Why is it important to date my will when it’s not legally required?
A: Although not legally required, its important to note that when there are more than one wills found at the time of one’s death, the only way to truly tell which will supersedes the other to see which one is most recent is by looking at the date. Again, Intention is very important in a will and your wishes may not be the same in every will that you draft throughout your life.
Q: Can the witnesses who witness my will also be inheriting according to my will?
A: No, we tell clients to make sure the witnesses are independent people. This negates any arguments as to fraudulent activity.
Q: Can my Executor also be an heir?
A: Yes, this usually happens in cases where spouses make each other executors should the one of them pass away first then the surviving spouse becomes the Executor as well as the heir.
Q: Is it important to have separate wills if I have assets in another country?
A: Yes, it is important to separate your wills according to the countries you have those assets in. when you pass away the masters office where you reside will have jurisdiction over your estate and will request the original will, so if you have to request you estate to be wound up in a different country and they would need the original will you wouldn’t be able to receive that back from the master and its unlikely that the other country would only accept a certified copy.
Q: Why can’t spouses have joint wills?
A: It is legal for spouses to do joint wills, but they are extremely problematic. As mentioned above when one dies their original will gets sent to the Master’s office to start the winding up of the estate. Now when the joint will is sent because one of the spouses has passed away and that estate is eventually wound, the masters offices will put the file of the deceased spouse into storage. Now when the second spouse passes, and the master needs the original will it’s impossible to get that will back from storage and often times gets lost. We advise our clients who are couples to draft separate wills even if they state the exact same thing.
Q: Why do you want my address on the will?
A: Your address of where you resided at the date of your death indicates your residence or domicile and tells us and the masters offices which master will have the jurisdiction over your estate and where your papers should be lodged.
Q: I don’t want my partner to know that I am a will. Why must I disclose my marital regime?
A: Your marital regime will indicate how your estate will be wound up especially if your will for any reason is named invalid and takes on the route of Intestate Succession. The Master’s office often times will not even work on a file until they know how one is married and estates are most often queried based on requested documents. Therefore, even if you do not want your partner to know that you are drafting a will its important that we have that information.