Local attorneys are urging residents to make wills to ensure their families are secure and continue to have good relationships after they pass on.
Speaking at the Four Annual Estate and Planning Forum, the attorneys challenged the view that wills are expensive and only suitable for wealthy people who have a lot of assets.
“What is expensive is fighting your family when there is no will. I know cases where families have been fighting for five, six and seven years. That’s expensive,” noted Anthea Smith who works in the area of estate planning. “I can tell you this much, if you’re charged more than $5,000 for a will, something is wrong. If you’re even charged more than $3,500 that’s expensive. A will is very inexpensive and it’s not only for rich people, so I would encourage everybody to make one.”
Smith also stressed that residents should note that if they die without leaving wills, there are local laws that will determine what happens to their assets — a move many people may not be in favour of.
“For example, you may have a husband you didn’t divorce. He’s lingering somewhere and is still your husband. If you don’t leave a will, he’s entitled to something. Those are the things we have to be careful of,” Smith added.
The lawyers also admitted that wills written informally on sheets of paper can hold value in a court of law. But they advised that it is best to seek legal advice as there are certain features of a will that the average person may not know.
They lawyers also advised persons that it is good to register wills at the High Court Registry for safekeeping, even though it isn’t a mandatory measure.
“The safest thing to do is register it at the High Court Registry or just ensure that you let the people around you know where your will is. Some people choose to keep it at home. I’ve known of cases where Hurricane Irma destroyed wills kept at home, so you want to make sure it’s very safe,” Smith explained.
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