Preparing a Will – 8 tips to make it easier
Preparing a Will is something we all know should do. But much like the dentist or doing your tax return, we find it very easy to put off.
It is not a nice thing to think about – your own mortality, but preparing a Will makes it much easier for those we leave behind at a very trying time. We wouldn’t want to leave our loved ones burdened with you dying Intestate (without a valid Will), having to catalogue your assets only to have them distributed in an arbitrary way.
The best way to think of it is to take the emotion from it, and see it as a checklist. Here is a list of the main points in the process.
Make a List of all Assets
In order to distribute your estate efficiently you have to know how it will be comprised. You don’t want the distribution to your dependants to be held up as your executor needs to uncover those Telstra shares you forgot about.
Know Your Beneficiaries (and Potential Ones too!)
For some this would be easy: leave your estate to your partner and/or kids. However for those who don’t have any partner, think about which relatives you would like to leave your estate to.
During this time you should also think about who could potentially be a beneficiary. This may include ex spouses/partners, children from previous relationships or even a relative who maybe financially dependant on you. If you don’t provide for these people in your Will, would they contest it?
Don’t forget about the Super
Superannuation is held in trust and therefore will not be a part of your estate. However you should give important consideration to it when calculating which beneficiaries eventually get what. This reduces the chance of any beneficiary contesting the Will.
In our article we discussed the importance of nominating superannuation beneficiaries and potential implications.
Choosing an Executor
Being an executor is time consuming and can sometimes be complex. When electing an executor, you should give thought to this fact. You shouldn’t pick a person because they are your mate or do show as a sign of respect.
An executor should be someone who is trustworthy and has the capability (both time and mental) to understand and carry out your Will. It is recommended that they themselves are not beneficiaries of the Will as it could cause a conflict of interest. If you cannot find someone to assist you, you can assign the NSW Trustee and Guardian for a fee.
Where is your Will?
Remember, you won’t be around to tell anyone where your Will is. So there is no use hiding it or locking it up in a safe that only you can access. It is prudent to leave a copy of your Will with your legal professional. At the least, inform your executor where it is kept.
Now that you know all your assets and who all the beneficiaries could be, think about some “What If” scenarios. This is especially relevant for those who are remarried or have had past defacto relationships. How would you safeguard your Will to make sure your estate is passed to those your beneficiaries. Do you need to include a trust?
Seek Professional Advice
You have all the pieces of the puzzle, now you just need to make sure they are in the right place. Yes you can buy a Will Kit at the local newsagent, but would it be valid? Should the validity be an issue it probably wouldn’t come to a head until after your death. By then it’s too late.
A Will is a legal contract that should be drafted by a professional. This is especially true if you have complex relationships with potential beneficiaries (see above).
Things change, people pass, relationships sour. Once established, like any plan, constant review is needed to make sure your wishes are still current.
Your executor may have passed, you make have more assets or you may have separated. All these things need to be reflected in your Will.
The importance of using the professional services of a lawyer is imperative in the establishment of a Will. As you won’t be around to represent yourself a legal, valid document to do it for you.
At Discovery Wealth we can assist you with some of the above steps and point you in the direction of a professional to establish your final Will.
Discovery Wealth – The Hills trusted name in Financial Advice.
The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author; they are not reflective or indicative of RI Advice Group’s position and are not to be attributed to RI Advice Group. They cannot be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of the author. Louella Jorge is an Authorised Representative of RI Advice Group Pty Ltd, ABN 23 001 774 125 AFSL 238429. This editorial does not consider your personal circumstances and is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account any of your individual objectives, financial solutions or needs. Before acting on this information, you should consider its appropriateness, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs. You should read the relevant Product Disclosure Statements and seek personal advice from a qualified financial adviser before you act.