How to write a will to avoid disputes between your heirs

Writing a will can be a complicated procedure, as it can be both emotionally and intellectually exhausting. Your will is the last words your family and friends will hear from you, and it's also the only way to ensure that your belongings go to the person you want them to go to. Hopefully, your family and friends won't argue over the content of the will and respect your wishes. However, to ensure this, there are things that can be done while writing to avoid creating disputed wills.

Legal matters

The first thing you need to do is to read up on the local laws in your area. It might not be possible to transfer, for example, property to someone who is not related to you unless you take the proper legal precautions first. If you have no living relatives, your property will be taken care of by the state, and if you have other wishes than that, you need to write that in your will. Claims coming from friends about taking over property are not legally acceptable, so you need to make your voice heard in order to pass your property on to anybody else than the state. Remember that this also goes for other types of belongings.

Oral agreements

Your relatives might be fully aware about who gets what after you pass away due to oral agreements you might have made. This is not enough to make it legally binding. Even if your relatives have a recording with you stating who gets what, it doesn't count as a will if an argument was to begin and the matter got taken to court. Therefore you should make sure to put all oral agreements down on paper to avoid legal disputes about your will. If you wish to leave a recording for your loved ones of your will for other purposes than legal ones, make sure there's also a paper copy of what you're saying in the recording.


You should also be careful with how you phrase your will. A very common mistake to make is to use phrases that are too general. Avoid phrases such as "family" and "friends" as this doesn't clearly state who's affected by the phrase. Distant relatives might consider themselves family and therefore dispute your closest family about the will. You also need to be equally concise when talking about the belongings you mean to pass on. Avoid generalisations such as "properties", "vehicles", or "memorabilia". Seek the help of an attorney if you're unsure about how to phrase your will, as they will be able to help you with issues like this.