A Will is one the most important legal documents you will ever sign.
Despite this, only 59% of Australians actually have a Will and many of those do not have a Will that reflects their current circumstances. You cannot overlook the importance of planning for your family’s future.
If you do not have a Will, or your existing Will is outdated, here are five reasons why you should visit a lawyer as soon as possible to get your Will in order:
To make sure the right people receive the right assets
If you have not updated your Will in some time, it’s likely that your relationships with those named in your Will has changed. With all of life’s changes, it is also possible that there are new people in your life who are not even named in your Will.
We recommend you update your Will if:
- a person named in your Will has died;
- if you have divorced/separated;
- if you have remarried or have a new partner;
- if you have had a child/grandchild since your last Will was written;
- if a child named has turned 18 and you wish to revise certain bequests because of this.
It’s also just likely that you have changed your mind in regard to certain people named in your Will. Maybe you’re not as close to your best friend anymore and do not want to leave them your car? Maybe you have developed a relationship with a charity that you would like to donate money to, upon your decease? It is essential to constantly review your relationships with those around you and critically think about whether your Will reflects your wishes in regard to those closest to you.
To protect your assets
At one point or another in each of our lives, we experience a significant change in our financial circumstances, sometimes out of nowhere. If you have seen a major increase or decrease in the value of your assets, we recommend you revise your Will. You may have bought a new house, started a business or received an inheritance yourself. You may also have new insurance policies that you may want to name beneficiaries for. In any event, any change in your assets should be accounted for in your Will.
To appoint a guardian for your children
This is a particularly important reason to update your Will. If you do not decide to appoint a guardian for your children in the event of your death, someone else will decide for you. Your children should go to a guardian that you love and trust, and that you know will take the best care of your children after you’re gone. It’s important to constantly be reviewing whether you have appointed the right guardian, and if your current Will does not reflect your wishes, update it as soon as possible. You don’t know when you might have your last day living and you don’t want to leave your children in a compromised situation.
To protect your business
Are you a business owner? If you answered yes, it’s quite likely that, as a business owner, a substantial portion of your families source of income and wealth is tied up in this particular business. You need to update your Will to reflect whether you want to pass your business down to your family or sell it to someone outside your family. Further, while the business is still in existence, steps should be taken to mitigate the chances of your family having to pay estate tax on a business that no longer exists upon your death. There is also a possibility that your business does not form part of your estate and it is important that you seek legal advice to determine whether that is the case.
To protect your loved ones from more stress
Let’s face it, losing a loved one is a life event that is always difficult, and the last thing any of us want to do is spend the time that we should be mourning, communicating with lawyers and other family members what your loved one’s intentions were in the absence of a will. Keeping an updated Will means that your loved ones can bypass the bureaucracy and lessen the stress during a time of sadness.
For more information about the estate planning services provided at our Gold Coast practice, we invite you to call our estate lawyers on (07) 5591 2222 or contact us regarding a free 30-minute initial consultation.