The importance of ordering your affairs. A guide to Wills & Estate planning.
After a big financial change in our lives, like purchasing a property, we often forget about protecting our new assets and financial future. It is important for everyone over the age of 18 to have a binding, up-to-date Will in order to make sure your wishes are followed, and your assets are distributed as requested after your death. By having a Will in place, you can instruct your loved ones on how you wish to distribute your assets, and even indicate who you want to be the guardians of your children.
If you have not left behind a Will, your assets and finances will be divided according to how the law dictates in the rules of intestacy. If you were to die intestate, it is unlikely that your estate will be distributed as you would have liked it to.
Can I make my own Will?
As your Will is your only method of directing your wishes after your death, it must be carefully drafted by a Solicitor. This ensures that your wishes are properly communicated and are valid upon your death.
If you choose to fill out a do-it-yourself Will kit or draft a Will document on your own, the following risks may arise if not properly prepared:
· The names of your executors or beneficiaries could be incorrect or incomplete, which can lead to a delay in the Probate process.
· The courts may consider your Will invalid if the proper requirements of the South Australian Wills Act 1936 are not complied with.
· You may gift assets in your Will which you do not legally own, therefore leaving your beneficiaries with nothing.
Reviewing your Will
Preparing a Will should not be a once-off event. It is important to review your Will on a regular basis, especially when major changes occur in your life.
There are a number of life events which can impact your Will. Here are a few examples you should consider:
· Have you had a child/children?
· Are you recently married, or separated from your partner?
· Have you made provisions for any specific assets that you no longer own, or are no longer valid?
· Do you have any new assets that you would like to distribute through your Will specifically?
· Is the executor of your Will still able to carry out their duties as executor?
· Did you want to reconsider, or include, any beneficiaries of your estate?
It is also important to keep your Will up to date as there is always a possibility that someone may find your Will unfair and seek to challenge it. We suggest reviewing your Will every 3 to 5 years to ensure that it still complies with your current wishes.
If you believe your Will is out of date, or you simply do not have a Will in place, contact CPC Lawyers to discuss the preparation of new or updated wills and estate planning advice.
If this is a service you would like to take advantage of, please do not hesitate to contact us on (08) 7325 0219.