A will is something you’ve watched read out in movies over and over again. You know what it is, really.

A will is a document that states who you want your assets to go to when you pass away. A will goes into effect immediately upon your death, and unless contested, dictate the division of your assets and goods. Sure it’s a little morbid, and may seem unnecessary to some people, however, if you have a medium to large estate – especially if there is immovable property – and multiple family members that may be eligible to take over this estate you may want to consider drafting a will as a precaution.

Often, death comes suddenly and prevents a person from detailing how and whom they would like their belongings to go. In these cases, the law or family may decide how to distribute the assets – often in a way that would have been displeasing to the deceased. To counter that, a will states clearly and legally what must be done to all assets remaining and how the assets must be divided.

Writing A Will

Drafting

To begin drafting a will, contact lawyers and financial advisors to aid you in making the best possible decisions. If you are over the age of 21 and of sound mind, you can create your own will which you can change and mend over the years as you see fit. However, without consultation, your will may be ineffective or invalid and unable to be processed, leaving your beneficiaries with little or none of the benefits they were initially allotted.

The process of drafting a will is the same; whether the will is yours personally or you are aiding in the creation of a will of someone close to you. Obtaining a legal or professional team also allows you some peace of mind. If the will is contested or its authenticity speculated about, the lawyers or professionals can be called to assist in the proceedings and handling the details of the case.

These professionals will sit with you and/or your loved one(s) and go through each inheritable asset to determine who should receive it upon eventual death. A draft of a will can be anywhere from $200 to $500 (simple to complex). Legal websites, such as Law Society, can help to guide you to the right professional or aid you in creating your own will.

Deciding on Beneficiaries

The creation of a will allows an individual to decide and legally mandate who they would like to inherit their assets. Once you have itemised your assets and determined your estate value, you can begin assigning different percentages or sections of your estate to the desired persons. The names of all beneficiaries must be stated clearly in your will to avoid confusion. Organisations, clubs, family members and charities are the most common beneficiaries used on wills, simply because these options are often close the heart of the will maker.

For more information, read Everything You Need to Know about Inheritance.

Final Draft and Witnessing

Once you are satisfied with the details of your will, you can now arrange to have two witnesses present to witness the signing of your will. The persons you choose as witnesses cannot be beneficiaries or the spouse of a beneficiary and both persons must be present at the signing at the same time.

After your will has been finalised and witnessed, it is now necessary to let your family members know that you have created the will and where it will be stored in the case of your death. It can be kept in a vault or safe or left with your lawyer for safekeeping.

When the affairs of you and your loved ones have been properly handled, the last step should involve only the grieving of a loss. Proper planning will prevent you from having to juggle the absence of someone dear to you and the mentally demanding task of arranging details after they have gone. Death is always difficult to deal with; however, once all the particulars are ironed out beforehand the process can become much easier.

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C.E.O @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is passionate about finance, education, women empowerment and children’s issues. Anna has been featured in CNBC, Forbes, The Straits Times, Business Insider, INC and The Peak Singapore. She was nominated and selected for FORTUNE Most Powerful Women conference in 2016 (Asia) and 2015 (San Francisco, Next Gen). Anna has 10 years of experience in the financial sector and is currently a Director in Tera Capital. Her previous work experience includes positions at Citigroup, United Overseas Bank, a regional role in Business Monitor and a boutique private equity firm based in Shanghai. She graduated from Singapore Management University (Finance and Quantitative Finance).