In brief - A well-drafted Will should reflect your wishes accurately
A Will is a legal document that directs the executor of your estate to collect your assets, pay all your debts and then distribute your assets to the beneficiaries that you have nominated. There are numerous reasons why you should have a Will and you should consider seeking legal advice to ensure that your Will is accurately drafted to reflect your wishes.
Reasons for having a Will
There are a number of reasons why having a Will is important, some extend beyond the distribution of your estate. These include:
- to provide guidance to your executor on funeral directions you may have
- to allow for your body to be used for organ donation or scientific purposes
- to notify your executor of who you want appointed as legal guardian for your minor children
- to allow for your estate (or parts of it) to be distributed to future generations
- to ensure that the gifts that you leave to beneficiaries are protected against risk factors such as bankruptcy creditors, marital breakdown or being wasted by vulnerable beneficiaries
- to address blended family situations when administering your estate
- to properly distribute shares you own in a private partnership, company or any joint venture
- to deal with the succession of any trusts that you run during your lifetime
- to ensure that the gifts you make utilise available tax concessions so that beneficiaries can make the most of what they receive
- to deal with superannuation proceeds that are paid into your estate
- to forgive loans made by you during your lifetime
- to allow for part of your estate to be left as a one-off, or enduring gift to charity
- to ensure that assets held across different countries aren't disadvantaged by different tax and succession laws between the various jurisdictions
- to ensure that it is clear why certain persons are not being provided for and hopefully reduce the risk of your Will being challenged
- to make your testamentary wishes clear to your family and assist your loved ones in making decisions during what will already be a difficult time
Consider seeking legal advice to ensure that your Will accords with your wishes
Get your Will in order! Wills can vary in complexity depending on your personal or financial situation, what you would like to achieve from your Will and the circumstances of different beneficiaries.
You should seek the appropriate professional advice to ensure that your Will is accurately drafted in accordance with your wishes and deals effectively with the disposition of all of your assets. Drafting an appropriate Will may require discussing your broader estate plan.
This is commentary published by Colin Biggers & Paisley for general information purposes only. This should not be relied on as specific advice. You should seek your own legal and other advice for any question, or for any specific situation or proposal, before making any final decision. The content also is subject to change. A person listed may not be admitted as a lawyer in all States and Territories. © Colin Biggers & Paisley, Australia 2020.