Your Will. Your way.
The future is uncertain. However, by possessing a valid and up-to-date Will, you can rest assured that your wishes for those people and causes that matter most to you will benefit from your hard-earned estate in the way you choose.
If you do not have a valid Will when the time comes, your estate will be divided according to the state’s laws of intestacy. These laws follow a formula that may not reflect your wishes on how you want others to benefit from your estate.
A valid Will ensures that the people you love and who you would dearly want to inherit your assets is carried out.
What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document that states a person’s wishes regarding how they would like their estate to be divided after they have passed on.
What is an Estate?
The word ‘estate’ refers to the whole of a person’s possessions, assets and debts left at death.
Creating your Will
Creating a Will need not be complex or costly. We strongly recommend you consult your legal advisor to assist you in preparing your Will. We have outlined the three key steps to familiarise you with the simple process.
- Determine the value of your estate.
- This involves itemising and calculating the current value of your assets including property, investments, superannuation, shares and major possessions. Any debts you have should also be factored in.
- Decide on the beneficiaries.
- List the people whom you wish to benefit from your estate and specific details regarding what you would like them to inherit. After making provision for those dearest to you, you may wish to consider leaving a gift to your favourite charity.
- Appoint an Executor.
- An executor ensures that the instructions you leave in your Will are carried out as you intended. We recommend that you choose an executor who is younger than you, and who you trust to be reliable and capable of fulfilling this important responsibility. Once you have created your Will, be sure to keep it in a secure place and advise your executor as to its location.
Reviewing your Will
There are many times in life when a change of circumstances or priorities necessitates that a person update their Will. It is timely for you to review your Will if:
- Major life changes occur for you or somebody in your family, for example the birth of a child
- A beneficiary named in your Will passes away
- You marry or become separated or divorced
- Any meaningful, long-term change occurs relating to a significant relationship
- Your financial circumstances change significantly
There are a number of other reasons for reviewing and updating your Will, for example to include your favourite charity. For peace of mind, we recommend you review your Will at least every five years.
How to update your Will
You can update your Will either by preparing and signing a new one, which will revoke your existing Will, or by adding a codicil. A codicil is a separate document that adds to or replaces one or more provisions in an existing Will. We recommend that you consult your legal advisor to assist you with updating your Will.