In the world of planning for what happens to your belongings after you’re no longer here, Wills are crucial documents. They help protect what you own and make sure your assets go to the right people when you’re gone. But sometimes, there are misunderstandings about Wills, especially in the context of the UAE. In this article, we clear up these mistaken ideas and share the real facts about Wills. Here are the common myths people have when it comes to making a Will:
Myth 1: “I’m Too Young for a Will”
Many individuals believe that creating a Will is a task reserved for the elderly. TWS Legal Consultants as Wills & Estate Inheritance Lawyers & DIFC Wills Registered Draftsmen emphasize that everyone, regardless of age, should have a Will in place to protect their assets and provide clarity to loved ones in unexpected circumstances. Accidents and unexpected events can happen at any stage of life, and having a Will becomes crucial to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Here are the reasons to Have a Will at a Younger Age:
Even in early adulthood, individuals may have valuable assets such as savings, investments, or personal belongings. A Will helps outline how these assets should be distributed in the event of unforeseen circumstances.
Clarity for Loved Ones:
A Will provides clear instructions on your preferences for asset distribution, reducing confusion and potential disputes among family members during an already difficult time.
Guardianship of Children:
If you have children, a Will allows you to designate guardianship for them. This is especially critical for young parents, as it ensures the well-being of their children in case both parents are no longer able to care for them.
Myth 2: “I Don’t Have Enough Assets to Warrant a Will”
Contrary to popular belief, Wills are not exclusive to the wealthy. It’s a widespread belief that only individuals with significant wealth or substantial assets need to bother with creating a Will. Many people think that if they don’t have substantial properties or a large sum of money, a Will is unnecessary. We emphasize that anyone with assets, be it property, savings, or personal belongings, should consider creating a Will to dictate their distribution according to their wishes. With the Will registered, you can define your small assets as below:
Even if you own a home or a small piece of real estate, a Will helps outline your preferences for its distribution.
Savings and Investments:
Bank accounts, investments, or any form of savings can be considered assets. A Will ensures these are distributed according to your wishes.
Items of sentimental or monetary value, such as jewellery, artwork, or family heirlooms, fall under the category of assets.
Myth 3: “My Spouse Automatically Inherits Everything”
It is a prevalent belief that if one passes away without a Will, their spouse will automatically inherit the entire estate. Many individuals assume that the legal system defaults to granting all assets to the surviving spouse. This assumption may not necessarily align with the reality of UAE inheritance laws, which govern the distribution of assets when there is no Will.
In the absence of a Will, the assets will be split between the surviving spouse and children (whether male or female). Further default distributions will apply in the absence of a spouse or children.
Myth 4: “Creating a Will Is a One-Time Task”
Assuming that a Will created at one point in life will adequately address all future changes is a misconception. Many believe that once a Will is drafted, it remains applicable and relevant throughout their entire life. Our Wills & Estate Planning Lawyers stress that a Will is not a static document but rather a dynamic one that should adapt to the changing circumstances of an individual’s life. Here’s a more detailed exploration:
Significant life events, such as marriage, the birth of children, or acquiring new assets, can impact the distribution of your estate. Assuming that a Will created at one point in life will adequately address all future changes is a misconception.
Adapting to Family Dynamics:
Marriage introduces a new set of considerations, including spousal inheritance and potential guardianship roles. The birth of children may necessitate adjustments to include provisions for their care and inheritance.
Changes in Assets:
Acquiring new assets or properties may require updates to your Will to ensure their inclusion and proper distribution. Regular updates minimize the risk of misinterpretation or legal uncertainties that may arise from changes in family dynamics or financial circumstances.
Read more on how to review your Will here.
Myth 5: “A Handwritten Will Is Sufficient”
Handwritten Wills, or “holographic Wills,” may not hold up in court. We caution against relying solely on handwritten Wills and emphasize the importance of having a professionally drafted, legally sound document. Many jurisdictions have specific legal formalities that must be followed for a Will to be valid. Handwritten Wills may not adhere to these formalities, potentially rendering them invalid in the eyes of the law. Here are some:
Legal Formalities, Requirement & Recognition:
Some jurisdictions require Wills to be witnessed and signed by witnesses to be considered valid. Handwritten Wills may not fulfil these witnessing and signature requirements. A professionally drafted Will carries legal recognition and is more likely to be accepted by the court without challenges.
Handwritten Wills may lack the clarity and precision of professionally drafted documents. Ambiguities or unclear language in a handwritten Will can lead to challenges in interpreting the testator’s intentions.
Risk of Disputes:
Handwritten Wills may be more susceptible to disputes and challenges in court. The lack of legal formality increases the risk of family members or beneficiaries contesting the validity of the Will.
While planning for the future and securing the destiny of one’s possessions, Wills stand as indispensable documents. Serving as custodians of our assets, Wills ensure that our hard-earned money and cherished belongings find their rightful recipients when we depart. However, in this journey of testamentary foresight, misconceptions often cloud the understanding, particularly in the context of the UAE.
This article serves as a beacon of clarity, dispelling common misconceptions and guiding readers toward a more informed understanding of Wills. At TWS Legal Consultants, we take pride in being your registered Wills and Estate Planning lawyers in Dubai. Our dedicated team of DIFC Wills Registered Draftsmen is committed to guiding you through the complexities of estate planning with precision and care. Choose TWS Legal Consultants for expert advice and comprehensive support in securing the future for yourself and your loved ones.