Taking the time to prepare a Will is one legal document many of us know is important and we should have in place. A Will is designed to outline your wishes in regard to your estate. As well as provide your family with written instruction in the event of your death.
Why do I need to prepare a Will?
Taking the time to draft a Will is important for several reasons. First a foremost it gives you the opportunity to have control in what is done with your estate and look after those you are responsible for, the beneficiaries. It also allows you to nominate who you would like to have as the executor of your estate.
When should I have a Will drafted?
Some may think that a Will is something that should be prepared later on in life, perhaps when you purchase a home. This is not actually the case. People often underestimate their responsibilities and the value in what they have at a young age. Additionally, having children should encourage you to prepare a Will.
In todays age of technology, our digital footprint is also something to be mindful of.
What should I include in my Will?
Your Will should include assets such as property, vehicles and additional assets such as furniture and jewellery. Superannuation and life insurance policy details should also be included, but are handled differently. We touch on this below.
Unfortunately the unexpected does happen and therefore another extremely important part of a Will is appointing the testamentary guardians for your minor children.
A Will should clarify any outstanding debts such as mortgages, personal loans or debts to family and friends.
Additional considerations can be made to gifts and/or donations to people or organisations.
With our digital footprint comes the need for a digital suitcase. We offer this as place where you can store passwords for things like email and social media accounts.
You can also give special direction regarding your funeral arrangements. Whether you would like to be buried or cremated. If cremation is your preference, you can state where would you like your ashes to be spread.
Superannuation and your estate
Superannuation is dealt with outside of your estate. For some of us, superannuation can be quite a valuable asset. Additionally, life insurance policies held within super are also paid to the super fund.
This is why it is important to ensure you have a binding death benefit nomination inside your super fund and update it every three years. After this time they become non-binding nominations. A binding death benefit nomination can be eligible dependants or a legal representative, such as the executor of your estate.
You can also decide to nominate for the balance to go to your estate. However, your superannuation balance will be included should your Will be contested.
Do I need to make changes to my Will?
We recommend that you review your Will every three to five years. Major life events should prompt an update. This could include things such as if you have children, it’s important to make sure you have nominated a guardian. Or if you acquire additional assets or make changes to existing ones. Like if you should buy or sell a home. Marriage or divorce can also affect the validity of your Will.
It’s also advised to give consideration to any challenges that may happen. It’s an unfortunate but not unusual situation where a family member believes their parents, partner or spouse have not taken their needs into consideration.
How can I draft or update my Will?
We will work closely with you to ensure everything is documented accurately and according to your wishes. Our aim is to step you through the key things you need to think about as part of the preparation of your Will. Just get in touch.
Our Expertise also includes:
- Powers of attorney – Enduring, Non-Enduring, Financial & Personal, Medical, Supportive
- Binding Death Benefit Nominations
- Testamentary trusts
- Estate planning
- Business Succession planning
- Probate and administration
- Estate claims and contested wills
- Estate litigation