Sunday, 18 December 2011

Creating your own Will

Q: Can I make my own Will?

A: Yes, you can, but you must understand the laws regarding Wills and you MUST ensure that the Will meets the legal requirements in order for it to be valid. Therefore, I would recommend having someone with legal knowledge prepare your Will.
In Trinidad and Tobago, the laws regarding Wills are enshrined in the Wills and Probate Act - Chapter 9:03.

The Testator (person writing the Will) must be 18 years old or over and of sound mind, memory and understanding.

There must be clear intention to dispose of the property. If a Testator is unduly influenced (coerced or pressured) or forced into making the Will, a Court may set it aside. Similarly, a Court may set aside all or part of a Will if the execution of a Will was obtained by fraud or if it was forged after the person’s death.

Signature and Attestation
In the majority of cases, a Will must be in writing for it to be valid, although there are certain exceptions to this general rule. It must also be signed by or on behalf of the Testator, and the signature must be made in the presence of 2 witnesses present at the same time.

Sample Attestation Clause:
We, the undersigned Testator and the undersigned witnesses, respectively, whose names are signed to the attached or foregoing instrument declare:
(1) that the Testator executed the instrument as the Testator's Will;
(2) that, in the presence of both witnesses, the Testator signed or directed another to sign for the Testator in the Testator's presence;
(3) that the Testator executed the Will as a free and voluntary act for the purposes expressed in it;
(4) that each of the witnesses, in the presence of the Testator and of each other, signed the Will as a witness;
(5) that the Testator was of sound mind when the Will was executed;
(6) that to the best knowledge of each of the witnesses the Testator was, at the time the Will was executed, at least eighteen (18) years of age.

Any alterations made to a Will after it has been executed, will not be valid unless the alterations have been duly executed (meets all necessary requirements listed above).

Q: What happens after death?

A: Probate is a process by which a Will of a deceased person is proved to be valid. Probate is the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person by resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person's property under the valid Will. A probate court decides the validity of a Testator's Will.

A Probate interprets the instructions of the deceased, decides the executor as the personal representative of the estate, and adjudicates the interests of heirs and other parties who may have claims against the estate.


Anonymous said...

Thumbs up

María Elena Calles Ramírez said...

Is it probate always required?

María Elena Calles Ramírez said...

Is it Probate always required?

Trinbago Rights said...

As long as assets are in the name of the deceased, yes.

Anonymous said...

How much do you charge for a will? If I do it by myself -as above-will it still be legal? Thanks

Trinbago Rights said...

A Will is small money...

I don't recommend it because of the wording required, but you can do it yourself... have it signed by 3 witnesses, who aren't family members.

Anonymous said...

How does a legal will holds up in court if I decide to get a divorce?
How will my assets be distributed if my current husband is not in my will?

Crystal Salina said...

where can i go to have a will done

Trinbago Rights said...


Unknown said...

How much does a lawyer charge to do a will?

Trinbago Rights said...

All Lawyers charge differently.

hails said...

can a will be probated more than once, by a beneficiary of the will then by the executor

Anonymous said...


My grandmother passed away several weeks ago. She was a US citizen, but had bank accounts in T&T (as she lived there for many years).

As her executor, I now have to close these accounts and access the funds to distribute to the beneficiaries as named in her will.

I am in the process of obtaining a Letter of Administration from the American courts (in Florida, where she was a resident) to give me the authority to settle her estate.

My questions is whether an American Letter of Administration (the equivalent of a grant of probate in T&T) will be accepted to close her bank accounts in T&T?

Thank you very much.

T's Fashion said...

can somebody who have Alzheimer make a will or do a transfer of title

Trinbago Rights said...

Most likely not.

T's Fashion said...

so what can be done

T's Fashion said...

my farther singed over his house to his lawyers wife cant i get a lawyer to do a deed in my name so his lawyer dont get his house

Unknown said...

Is it in Trinidadian law that a lawyer needs to evaluate land property before writing a will? The lawyer i spoke to wants to evaluate the value of the land before writing a will.