Your Will is the final document giving instructions as to who will receive what from your estate after your death. A carefully prepared Will prevents a lot of family arguments and can eliminate claims against your estate. If you are in a ‘blended family’ it is essential you obtain good advise to ensure that your estate goes to those beneficiaries of your family who are important to you. Wills need to be reviewed during your lifetime, particularly when your situation changes.
Matters for consideration include:
Executors/Trustees. The role of the executor is to administer the estate of the deceased, and when completed will hold the assets on trust for the beneficiaries subject to the terms of the Will.
Funeral/Burial Instructions. Unless stated specifically in your Will, your executors will make the decision regarding your burial/cremation. Consider also organ donation.
Personal chattels. Thought should be given to gifting specific personal items – i.e. jewelry, heirloom items of the family etc.
Appointment of guardian. Important if you have children under 18 years old.
Assets and Liabilities. A full list of all your assets and liabilities with approximate values should be prepared.
Assets owned personally, jointly with a spouse/partner, by a company of whom you are a shareholder, as a beneficiary of a Trust or private superannuation fund etc. Liabilities include mortgages on properties, debt owing to friends/family etc.
Specific gifts or legacies. These bequests take precedence over distribution of the remainder of your estate, so ensure you have enough to pay all gifts/legacies if you want the remainder to go to other beneficiaries. If a beneficiary has died before you, what is to happen to their bequest/legacy/share of your estate. Make provision for a substitute beneficiary.
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