last will and testament definition, forms/types of last  will and testament,characteristisic of last will and testament,  requirements/validity of the last will and testament, how to write your last will and testament, last will and testament sample

This is the most comprehensive guide on how to write a last will and testament. This guide discusses;
  • the meaning of last will and testament
  • forms/types of will
  • characteristics of will
  • how to write a valid will
  • sample of the last will and testament
  • what to do after writing a will 
  • etc.
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    what is a Last Will and Testament?

    Will is a legal document in which a person (testator) voluntarily declares how he desires his properties to be handled and finally distributed, once he dies. Through a Will, a testator appoints his hires and a person (executor) who will execute his desires. 

    Forms/types of  a Last Will and Testament

    Generally, there are two forms of Will; i.e Oral Will and Written Will. However, a Written Will is a Will that appears to be appropriate because it is simple to prove its existence. 

    Forms and contents of the Will are always affected by statutory laws (Statutory Will), religions (Islamic wills), and customs (customary Wills) of a certain locality.

    Therefore before writing your Will, you must put into consideration relevant statutes, your religion and custom apply in your life. One may wish to prepare a statutory will, an Islamic will, or a customary will.

    Characteristic of a Last Will and Testament

    •  It operates only as a declaration of intention.
    • It is revocable i.e you can cancel your Will at any time before death.
    •  It takes effect after the death of the testator.
    • Will is ambulatory in Nature this means it is capable of dealing with the property acquired after the date when it was made, provided, and that is, to mean that the property is owned by the testator until his death.

    Requirements / Validity of the Last Will and Testament

    Will, statutory, Islamic, or customary, may only be valid and executed when it meets some requirements. The following are the important requirements regardless of the nature of the will.
    • The testator must be of full age (not child).
    • The testator must be of sound mind at the time he makes a Will.
    • It must be written unless it is an Oral Will.
    •  It must be free from ambiguity.
    •  It must be voluntarily made. A Will, will not be accepted if it was made under force, fraud, mistake, or and other influences.
    •  It must be witnessed; in case of statutory Will at least two witnesses.
    • It must be signed by the maker in the presence of the witness who will also sign.

    NB: if the Will does meet those conditions will be considered as defective and invalid will.

    How to write a Last Will and Testament

    The following is how to write a last will and testament perfectly;

    Use Proper terminology

    Your will must be shown that it was voluntarily made by you. You must use proper terminology to express your wishes. 

    For example, use REVOKE to revoke all previous testamentary dispositions if that is your intention; APPOINT which deals with the appointment of executors and trustees; I BEQUEATH which sets out any gifts of specific articles which you wish to make, and GIVE, DEVISE BEQUEATH AND APPOINT which deals with any remaining property you may have to dispose of

     Must be Properly presented  

    Your Will should be laid out in paragraphs numbered in sequence after a first paragraph which confirms the nature of the document (will or codicil) and states your name, address, and occupation or, if you are a woman without an occupation, your status (married woman, widow, etc.). 

    The first words of each paragraph should be in block capitals and underlined. All names should be set out in full, in capitals, and underlined.

    List all of  your properties

    For better estate planning, here you must write a list of anything of value. It may include personal assets including houses, land, shares, bonds, vehicles, jewels, all kinds of bank accounts, antiques. 

    Appraise the value of all your assets, so you have an idea of your net worth. This is important in a country that has an inheritance tax or estate duty/estate tax.

    Appoint Executor

    An executor is a person to whom the power of implementing your desires is vested.

    You may choose one or more persons. Also, you must consider stating the alternate executor in case the one you choose is unable or unwilling to serve that position. 

    You may state the amount which will be paid to the executor for what he will do. Usually, it is wise to have two executors who you can trust, are honest, and are capable of executing your Will consider obtaining their concern before finalizing your will. 

    Further, you may appoint the guardian of your children if you have a child or children below the age of 18.

     Select Beneficiary and allocate their shares

    In your Will, you must include your entire beneficiary. These are people who would benefit from your assets. Usually, they are family, relatives, and/or friends, but it may include charity organizations and others. 

    You must specifically decide on the share and assets allocation of every beneficiary. To prevent quarrel you may include reasons for your decisions or allocations 

    Funeral issues

    When necessary you may include a clause on where and how you should be buried.

    NB: to make sure your Will comply with all requirements, consider hiring a lawyer to help you draft it.

    What you should do after writing your last  Will and Testament?

    After writing your will you should Decide Where to Keep Your Will.

    It is worth noting that your Will can only be executed once found. Make sure you keep your will at an easily accessible place/location but your executor or your loved ones. 

    You can consider keeping your will at your attorney Firm, Bank safe locker, or home safe locker or register it at a relevant authority.

    Advantages of writing a last Will and testament

    The following are the advantages of writing a last will and testament before you die;

    To Distribute Your Properties (Both Current And Future) As You Wish

    With a Will, you can direct where and how your properties will be distributed after your death. 

    For Example, you may wish to distribute some of your properties to charity organizations. If you died intestate (without a Will) your properties would be distributed against your wishes.

    To Voluntarily Choose a Good Executor

    With a Will, you can choose the person to administer your estate and distribute it according to your instructions but if you die without a Will that person will be chosen on your behalf.

    Choose A Guardian of Your Children

    Through a will, you can appoint who will take care of your children in case you and their other Parents both passed away.

    With Will, you live rich, and you die poor 

    It Will allows you to distribute all your property while you’re living although that distribution will take effect once you die. Proper allocation of your properties minimizes the chances of conflicts once you are gone.



    1.1 Full Name of Testator
    1.2 Age- to determine if a major
    1.3 Whether of sound mind
    1.4 Address of Testator
    1.5 Religion of Testator-may determine what proportion of the property may be disposed of by will
    1.6 Marital status
    1.7 If married, type of marriage i.e customary/civil/religious/polygamous
    1.8 If the Testator has any children


    2.1 Any property owned solely by Testator e.g houses, land, bank accounts, shares, cars, any other property
    2.2 Property owned jointly with another/marital property
    2.3 Details of any insurance policies taken out by the Testator and their beneficiaries
    2.4 Any businesses owned
    2.5 Any debts, liabilities, encumbrances on owned properties


    3.1 Spouse: full name
    3.2 Children: full names and ages
    3.3 Others: names and addresses


    4.1 Whether the Testator wants to give any special item to a beneficiary
    4.2 Whether the Testator wants to make any gifts to charities/societies
    4.3 Who is to receive the rest of the property i.e residual legatee


    5.1 Family dynamics so that can make the appropriate choice as to executor(s)
    5.2 Names and addresses of executor(s)
    5.2 Alternative executor
    5.3 Find out if proposed executors will be willing to act as executors


    6.1 names and addresses



    8.1 full names
    8.2 addresses
    8.3 age- to determine the capacity
    8.4 relationship to Testator- may determine the capacity of witness depending on the law applicable



    The following is the sample of the last will and testament.


    of me,------------------------------------------------ of P.O Box.................................................................

    1.   For the purpose of making this disposition of my entire estate, real and personal, which  I wish to have taken effect at my death, do make, publish and declare this to be my last Will and  Testament, and do hereby revoke all former Wills and Testamentary dispositions heretofore at any time made by me.

    2.   HEREBY APPOINT  -------------------------------------- of P.O Box ---------------
    --------------to be the sole executor of this my WILL.

    2.   I HEREBY DEVICE my interest in that piece or parcel of land situated in the
         District of -------------- containing ----------- square feet known as Plot No.-------------
         Area, ------------------- and registered under a certificate of Title No. --------------------- to
         my wife ------------------------------------- and my son --------------------------------- jointly  as joint tenants in undivided equal shares;

    3.   I HEREBY DEVICE my interest in that piece or parcel of land situate in -----------
         -------- District containing approximately -------------------------- acres known as Farm
         Nos. ------------- and ----------------- Plan No.--------------------- and registered under
         Certificate of Title No.-------------. --------- to my wife -------
         ------------------ and my children ------------------------------------------------------------------
         and ----------------------------------- jointly as joint tenants in undivided equal shares;

    4.   I HEREBY DEVICE my interest in my house at -------------------- known as Plot
         No.---------------------------------------------------------- to --------------------------------

    5.   I HEREBY BEQUEATH my interest in  any motor vehicle that may be
         belonging to me at the time of my death to ------------------------------------

    6.  I HEREBY BEQUEATH my shares in and Company etc.


         to my children --------------------------------------------------- and ------------------------------    
         jointly in undivided equal shares;

    7.  I HEREBY BEQUEATH my interest in the following bank accounts:-

    (a)          ..................Bank of  Commerce                           Branch _________________

    (i)  Current Account No.
    (ii) Savings Account No.

                    (b)          ................. Bank of Commerce                                  Branch__________________
    (i)  Current Account No.
    (ii) Savings Account No.

                    ( c)          ...........Bank of Commerce                                           Branch__________________

    (i)  Current Account No.
    (ii) Savings Account No.
    (iii) Current Account

                    (d)          ..............Commercial Bank                                              Branch__________________
    (i)  Savings Account

    (e) United Republic of Tanzania 29% “B” Stock to my wife ---------------------  
         ----------- and my children ------------------------------------------------------------   
         and------------------------------ jointly in undivided equal shares after deducting
         the money necessary for meeting the costs mentioned in Clause ------------------

    8.   I HEREBY BEQUEATH my interest in the following bank accounts to my wife ------

                    (a)          ................Bank
    (i)  Savings Account No.

                    (b)          ..............Chartered Bank, _

    (i)  Current Account No.
    (ii) Savings Account No.

    9.            I DIRECT that:

                    (a)          Any property not mentioned in this my WILL which will be belonging to 
                                    me at the time of my death shall be distributed by my said Executor in his
    absolute discretion;

    (b)          Any furniture and equipment which is in any of the houses mentioned    
    hereinabove shall be part of the house and any furniture, equipment and
    machinery on the farm shall be part of the farm.

    10.  I FURTHER DIRECT that if my said --------------------------------- shall predecease        
           me, ----------------------------------------------- shall take ------------------------ by
           substitution the administration of my estate as ----------------------------- would have
           done if he had survived me.

    11.  I AUTHORISE my Executor to pay all debts and funeral expenses in connection
           with obtaining the PROBATE of this my WILL.

                    IN WITNESS WHEREOF  I have set my hand this ……………………. Day of ……………………. Two Thousand...........................................

    SIGNED by the above named ___________       }
    ___________________ as his LAST WILL            }
    in the presence of us both present at the            }
    same time who at his request in his                      }                                       ……………..
    presence and in the presence of each other       }
    have hereunto subscribed our names as              }
    witnesses                                                                    }

    Signature  …………………………………
    Postal Address: …………………………..
    Qualifications: …………………………….

    Signature ……………………………………
    Postal Address: ………………………………
    Qualifications: ………………………………

    Signature …………………………………..
    Postal Address: ……………………………….
    Qualifications: ……………………………….

    DRAWN by:
    A AND D
    XXX Attorneys
    O Building 11th Floor,
    P.O Box......

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