What is a will?
A Will is a legal document that stipulates how you want everything you own and cherish to be dealt with when you pass away. It needs to be an accurate reflection of your final wishes, and specify how you’d like your assets handled. It can be as simple or as complex as you make it and include provisions for your children and even your funeral arrangements. Whether you are preparing a Will yourself or seeking the assistance of a legal firm, there are a few key areas worth considering.
Appointing an Executor
An executor is a person you nominate to be responsible for managing your affairs and ensuring the terms of your Will are followed and upheld. Think long and hard about who you choose to trust with this role. It’s also a good idea to discuss this with them to ensure they are happy to be appointed.
Recipients of your Estate
When it comes to nominating the recipients of your estate, take care to consider all your assets, large and small. Don’t overlook cherished items that may have sentimental value including inherited jewellery and how you would like them managed. There may also be debts to clear, superannuation, shares or other financial interests you own, that need to be taken into account.
All significant assets including property, vehicles, and interests in businesses should be clearly identified and a beneficiary nominated. It is important that all key documentation, land titles and financial paperwork is organised and stored in one safe place. This helps to eliminate any additional frustration that may occur when loved ones are searching for missing or lost certificates or titles.
Guardianship of your Children
Children under the age of 18 should be considered in your Will. When writing your Will, you can nominate your preference as to the person you wish to care for your child/children until they are adults as well as document your wishes with respect to their education, extra-curricular activities, traditions and values.
Where to Store your Will
There are many ways in which a Will can be prepared. However when it comes to storing it, your Will needs to be kept in a safe place and your executor and major beneficiaries should be aware of its location. It is preferable not to keep the original Will in your home.
Lees & Givney can provide guidance and recommend options for you, including offering safe and secure storage which also means the Will can be produced or amended when the need arises.
Reviewing your Will
Life changes regularly so it is important to keep your Will up-to-date, particularly when there are significant changes in your life such as marriage, divorce and the birth of children. Reviewing your Will regularly, even if it is every two to three years, is a good idea so you are confident your financial circumstances are being captured and your final wishes are current.
There are many considerations when making a Will and some may only become apparent after you have a discussion with Lees & Givney. Without a Will, you do not have a say as to how your estate will be distributed, who gets what and how allocations will be decided. Make an appointment with an accredited specialist at Lees & Givney to assist and guide you in all areas of your Will preparation.