October 23, 2021

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How much does it cost you not to leave a will?

This article was translated from our Spanish edition.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Despite the importance of having a will , in Mexico there are still various challenges around this process, one of them is the lack of knowledge of the benefits and information necessary to prepare this document.

Debby Hudson vía Unsplash

However, some government institutions, agencies, and entities have implemented educational campaigns to promote this process, which is intended to protect family assets. One of the most representative was established nationwide as “September testament month.”

Actions are implemented throughout the month to encourage the drafting of wills such as extended business hours, information about the process, free legal advice or more accessible costs.

“In Mexico there is still a general lack of knowledge about this issue. Even television programs or movies have contributed – to a certain extent – to generate an erroneous idea of this procedure, since it is not a simple writing or a video; but rather a legal process endorsed by a notary public, which in addition to serving to provide financial certainty to the family, must meet certain requirements to be valid, ”says Manuel Patlán, Chief Financial Officer of Coru.

Data from Coru indicate that in Mexico only 7.2% of the population has a will, while the remaining 92.7% does not have one. People over 35 years of age and with high purchasing power are the sector of the population that concentrates the most wills.

What are the characteristics of a will?

A will is a legal instrument in which the destiny that a person’s assets and resources will have, once he or she dies, is stated. To guarantee its validity and compliance, it is essential that you have the certification of a Notary or Notary Public.

According to Coru, these are some of the characteristics of this document:

  • Personal. This procedure is carried out on a personal level, no one can go on behalf of a person to prepare it. This is to protect the testator’s assets and avoid benefits from a third party.
  • Revocable. It can be modified as many times as the testator decides. If the testator dies, the most current version of the will will be taken as valid.
  • Free. No one can force a person to carry out this procedure, that is, it must be done voluntarily since there is no obligation either by the law or by any other person or institution.

What are the consequences of not drawing up a will?

The purpose of a will is to provide patrimonial certainty to the family; However, if a person dies and does not leave a will, the law establishes who the heirs will be as well as the proportions they will receive.

Without a will, families could face situations such as:

  • A judge or notary will arbitrarily determine the ownership of the assets and resources of the deceased person
  • Family disputes over the distribution of assets
  • Expenses for procedures and inheritance trials
  • Relatives and even other people close to the deceased person, can initiate a legal process for said estate (if it exists). This process is known as ‘estate succession’.

“During the month of September, the average cost of this procedure is around 2,250 pesos, that is, almost a quarter of the monthly income of half of Mexicans. However, a will is a vital investment to guarantee the financial stability of families and ensure their future ”, concludes Coru’s Chief Financial Officer.

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