Australians are rushing to update their will amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
The recent outbreak has affected us all. As a result, it has created a huge demand for people to make or update their will.
Have you reviewed your will recently?
If you have a will with us, give us a call to set up a time to review it. We have measures in place to obtain your instructions respecting the current restrictions, there is no need to wait.
Here are some things you need to think about and consider as you review your will:
Who should you appoint as your executor?
Your choice of executor is one of the most important decisions you need to make.
You can choose a single person or multiple people to act as your executor. You may choose your partner, one or more of your children, a close friend, or a solicitor.
The role of the executor is to be your legal representative after your death. He/she will deal with your assets according to the instructions in your will.
Your executor needs to be a trusted and responsible adult who will respect your wishes.
Who will look after your children?
If your children are under the age of 18, it’s important to nominate who you would like to look after them if you were to die. It’s recommended to appoint only one person to the position, as multiple guardians can often lead to difficulties down the road. Discussions of who will live where won’t have to take place if you appoint a single guardian.
Are you a part of a blended family?
If you are a part of a blended family, you will want to think about how to best take care of both your spouse and ensure your children are well taken care of. This can be difficult as it often requires consideration of different assets. It’s important you discuss this with us to ensure everyone is protected in your will.
How can you ensure your will is valid?
A valid will needs to be properly drafted and no part should be contradictory or up for interpretation. In addition, valid will needs to be witnessed by two independent persons. It will be signed by the testator (the person making the will) and the two witnesses on each page.
An important point of consideration when choosing witnesses to your will: the witnesses cannot be named as a beneficiary or married to a beneficiary, otherwise the will may be deemed invalid.
Why is it important to keep your will up-to-date?
Even if you don’t have substantial assets, making a will ensures your wishes are respected upon your death. An up-to-date will also ensures your loved ones will be able to finalise your estate in a more timely manner than would be possible without a will.
If you have assets and no will, your surviving family members will need to decide who will apply to be the administrator of your estate and your estate will be distributed to your next of kin as set out in the Succession Act. This may mean that part of your estate goes to someone that you didn’t want to receive a share of your estate. It may also cause arguments between your remaining family. The cost of administering your estate will usually be greater if you don’t have a will, leaving less for your family.