Your Will

Tick the Box – See a Wills and Estates Lawyer

How organising your Will, estate and affairs can help you now, and your family when you're gone.

Tick the box and make an appointment to see a Wills and Estates Lawyer. 


 

Why now?  Because you are ALIVE, and if you are reading this, you likely have the necessary mental ability to make a Will and plan your estate. You have ticked the first box, and since you have started ticking the boxes I encourage you to continue.

Ask me for reasons why you should see a Wills and Estates Lawyer, and you’ll be here for quite a while. Given my job I may be biased, but irrespective of that the reasons are important to you and the future of your family. With that in mind, I’ll give you just seven reasons to pick up the phone and make the call. And I bet afterwards you will actually feel pleasantly relieved, and be left scratching your head as to why it took you this long in the first place.

Pick up the phone. Second box ticked.

Why you should see a Wills and Estates Lawyer:

1. TO MAKE A WILL!

Where there’s a Will, there’s a way. Where there’s no Will, then…. there is still a way BUT the big thing is you won’t have any control over it. No will means no choice. Without a Will the law dictates who will inherit from you. But you wanted your Pandora bracelet to go to your sister and your four-legged friend to go to your best bud? No can do, unless you make a Will.

2. TO CHOOSE AN EXECUTOR

‘Executor’ – a fancy word and people feel chuffed when they are asked to be one, so make a Will and appoint someone to be your executor. Your executor is a trusted person who pays all of your bills, calls in all of your assets, looks after them and then gives them to the beneficiaries in your Will after you die. It’s an important role, and YOU should choose the person you feel is most suitable.

3. TO SORT OUT YOUR SUPER

Did you know your super fund may pay out a big sum of money when you die? Did you know that in most cases the trustee decides who to pay that money to unless you do a valid binding death benefit nomination? Are you 100% certain you have made a binding nomination? Do you remember filling a form out ages ago and saying you want your mum to benefit? If you filled out this form over three years ago and/or didn’t have it witnessed by two people and/or nominated someone who is not your dependent then it’s highly likely that any binding nomination that did exist was either invalid or has expired, or that it was in fact non-binding and merely a preference.

In any case your mum couldn’t benefit unless she was your ‘dependent’. But then again, if you made a binding nomination to your legal personal representative and then through your Will you included a clause that specified any superannuation paid to your estate was to go to your Mum, but then she may be taxed significantly or a claim is made and … See? Complicated already. Leave it up to the experts.

4. TO SET UP TRUSTS FOR YOUR BENEFICIARIES

Do you want your beneficiaries to take their inheritance as one big lump sum? Are they good with their money? If you want someone to inherit, but feel they need assistance managing their financial affairs, then your lawyer can set up what is called a ‘Trust’. A trust allows you to choose someone responsible to look after their money and use it for your beneficiaries’ best interests. Trusts can also be quite tax-effective, flexible and very useful.

5. BECAUSE YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES HAVE CHANGED

Perhaps you have a Will that was prepared before you were married or divorced (and may in fact have been ‘revoked’ or cancelled), or before you had children. Perhaps your Will is as old as the hills and appoints a trustee company that you no longer want to be involved (and possibly charge a commission and fees).  Or maybe you have started a new relationship and want that person to benefit, or you have ended one and want to discuss your options. When your financial, family or relationship circumstances change then it’s likely that your Will and estate plan will need to change also.

6. BECAUSE SOMEONE HAS DIED AND YOU’RE THE EXECUTOR OR NEXT OF KIN

Let a Wills and Estates Lawyer assist you. If the person that died had substantial assets in their own name – for example, they owned property or had a decent sum of dollars in a bank, then it’s very possible that you (or your lawyer) will need to file a bunch of documents in Court.

This paperwork process is known as ‘Probate’ or ‘Letters of Administration’ and requires much attention to detail and strict laws (hence the need for a specialist Lawyer), the signing of affidavits and then after a few weeks (or months) the Court sends back more a fancy bit of paper. This bit of paper proves the Will (or the lack thereof) and gives you formal authority to act as executor or administrator and gives banks and other organisations some assurance that they are handing assets over to the right person.

7. TO DISCUSS ALL THOSE EXTRA ‘THINGS’ TO DO WITH WILLS AND ESTATES

Testamentary guardians, powers of attorney, enduring guardians, advance care plans, flicking the switch, incapacitated, cremations, burials, transferring property, next of kin, etc.

You have probably heard these words and phrases before, but may not have given it much thought. Have you thought about who would manage your financial affairs if you couldn’t make your own decisions, or who would be willing and able to make the call regarding your health and lifestyle if you lost mental capacity? Who would you want to look after your children if something happened to you and your partner? See a Wills and Estates Lawyer and you’ll soon be thinking about it – and so you should be.

… Sign and finalise wills and estate planning documents. Tick the box!

For advice about your Will or Estate issue, contact your nearest Tindall Gask Bentley office. You can also start your Will online here.