If you do not have a Will, now is a great time to make one. A Will sets out what is to happen with your estate after you die. To ensure your estate ends up with who and where you want, you may need to have a valid Will. Give the team at Griffin Legal a call today for advice and to have your Will prepared.
If you do have an existing Will, now is a great time to check it is valid and if required, update your Will to ensure it still accurately reflects you wishes. Read on to determine whether you may need to update your Will.
Your Will is not a ‘set and forget’ document. It is a document that should change as your circumstances and wishes change. Updating your Will ensures your wishes are accurately expressed and given effect by your Executor (the person appointed to carry out you wishes). Below we have set out some life events that may trigger the need for your Will to be updated.
Circumstances for updating your Will
- If you marry after making your Will, and your Will does not contemplate the marriage.
- If you have commenced a relationship with someone since making your Will and you wish to provide for them in your Will, or explain in your Will why you do now want them to benefit from your estate.
- If you have a had a child or children after making your Will and you intend to provide for those children or explain in your Will why do you not want them to be benefit from your estate. It is recommended your Will includes the appointment of a guardian in case you and your spouse predecease your children before they turn 18 years of age.
- If you divorce or separate from your de facto partner or spouse.
- If one of your appointed executors or named beneficiaries dies, or you wish to replace them (for example, because they may predecease you).
- If a member of your family or an existing beneficiary of your estate has become estranged from you, and you no longer wish to provide for this person from your estate.
- If you have given a specific gift (for example a house or a car) and you no longer own that item.
- If your assets increase (for example you inherit money or purchase property) – you need to check that your current Will accurately reflects your wishes regarding the increased assets.
- If your liabilities increase – you need to check that your wishes can be met from your estate or alternative gifts should be made.
- If you have given a loan to a friend or family member your Will should be updated to state whether the loan is forgiven upon your death or required to be repaid to your estate.
- The Will has not been properly executed or witnessed.
- If your Will has been witnessed by a beneficiary of your estate.
Other factors to consider
- Do you know where your existing Will is? Often it will have been stored with a previous solicitor, at your bank or it may be amongst paperwork and personal belongings in your home. It is important that you and your appointed executors are able to locate your original Will when required. If you cannot find your existing Will, your executors are unlikely to find it after your death and so you should make a new Will.
- Is your existing Will sufficient? If you have written your own Will or used a ‘Will kit’, it may not adequately reflect your wishes and may be victim to common pitfalls of these types of Wills resulting in your wishes not being met.
The above is not an exhaustive list of considerations regarding your Will. Griffin Legal can assist you in your estate and succession planning. Call our office on 02 6198 3100 today.