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Having to come to terms with your mortality and look ahead to what will happen after you die isn’t easy, but having a valid, up-to-date will is one of the kindest, most considerate things you can do for your family as it minimizes any unnecessary legal disputes resulting from your passing.
A valid Will is also the best way you can ensure that your personal effects and assets will be distributed in the way that you want them to be following your death.
By making your Will, it enables your family to deal with your affairs more efficiently and cost effectively. It makes it easier for those you leave behind to deal with finalizing your estate whilst dealing with this traumatic time.
If you are the breadwinner for the family, by making your Will you can ensure that your spouse and children are provided for after your passing. This can be a very stressful time for people who leave behind young families and when there is still a number of debts that need to be serviced. It also gives you have control as to who you want to appoint to look after any infant children you may leave behind.
If your estate affairs are adequately in order, this will avoid any unnecessary and protracted application processes that are required for a grant of probate. This can hold up the process of winding up your estate which in turn can have a financially adverse effect on your family.
Why should you have a Will?
A Will allows you to appoint a person of your choice to be the executor of your estate. Your executor is then in charge of administering your estate in accordance with the terms of your Will. Having a Will also allows you to nominate a guardian to care for your children.
What happens when you die without a valid Will?
If you die without a valid Will then the law determines how your assets Will be distributed. This can result in your assets being paid to relatives you have little or no contact with. It can also cause considerable expense and unnecessary delays in finalising your estate.
When should you update your Will?
There are many reasons to update your will such as:
- A change in relationship status, such as separation, divorce or re-marry/re-partner;
- If you have more children;
- If you establish or dispose of a trust, company or business;
- At least every three years
- Whenever you dispose of, or acquire significant assets;
- If you acquire significant debts or there is a likelihood you may become insolvent
- Any major beneficiary dies or has a significant change in circumstances;
- An executor dies or becomes ill.
What should you include in your Will?
People include all sorts of things in their will. As a starting point you should think about including the following before you meet your lawyer:
- Name your executor. An executor is the person who, when you die, locates your will and contacts the beneficiaries and any relevant business associates. They will look after and administer your estate and tie up all your financial affairs.
- Details of your assets and bank accounts.
- How do you want your assets to be distributed amongst your beneficiaries. Leave very clear instructions.
- Full names and contact details of all beneficiaries.
- Your preffered funeral arrangements
- A guardian to care for your children. You may decide to appoint more than one.