Although most people don't like to contemplate their death, it is important to think about how you want your worldly goods to be distributed in the event of your demise while you're still alive, rather than leaving a world of pain for your grieving family to sort out.
Making a will needn't be a traumatic or expensive process. Here are a few helpful tips for making the perfect will.
DIY versus professional
Although there are plenty of DIY will kits out there that are readily available from stationery shops, it's easy to get it wrong. Unless you are extremely knowledgeable and confident, it's better to have a lawyer who specialises in estates planning to draw up your will.
Choose your executors with care
The role of executor is a demanding and responsible one. Your executor will have the task of exercising your estate as per the instructions you have left in your will, which can involve dealing with property, items of high value, and cash. Always make sure the people you choose are happy to take on this role before you name them as your executors.
Married couples usually name their spouse as sole executor. Be wary of this, though, as if you both died together, there would be no one left to exercise your will. To avoid this problem, always appoint a default or substitute executor, just in case your spouse is unwilling or unable to act in the event of your death.
If you have young children, it's important to appoint a guardian and to state who this is to be in your will. If you are unmarried but have children with your partner, you might not get guardianship of the kids, as the court might decide to appoint someone else. Make sure that you appoint each other as guardians to overcome this potential problem.
Appoint trustworthy trustees
If you are setting up a trust in your will or if you have beneficiaries who could still be children at the time of your death, you must appoint trustees. The trustees are responsible for managing and investing money or caretaking property until the beneficiaries are old enough to inherit.
Make sure your trustees have a good grasp of financial matters and are not so old that they will die before you do.
Make specific legacies
You may have family heirlooms or items of particular sentimental value, and you should leave these items as a specific legacy to a beneficiary you have named. After you have made specific legacies, there will be a little left over, known as a residual legacy. Remember to specify who this is to go to; if you don't, you will create a partial intestacy in your will. This means that once the small gifts and legacies have been handed out according to the will, the residue will become subject to the laws of intestacy and could go to the government.
Your will is a very important document, especially if you have family who you wish to be provided for in the event of your death. Have a chat with a good estate planning lawyer to make sure that your will is drawn up correctly to give you and your family peace of mind.Share
25 July 2016
No one gets married planning to get divorced, but by the time I see them it's pretty obvious why they are getting divorced. When a marriage is beyond repair I'm there to fight for my clients right's under family and property law and to get them the best deal I can possibly negotiate. Even if you feel like your case is messy or complicated, I can guarantee in my time as a lawyer I have seen and heard worse things! This site has a collection of useful articles and links on developments and case law in the Family Court of Australia.