A Will is a specifically drafted document that directs how you wish to distribute your assets upon your death.
Having a Will made professionally means that you can reduce the risk of a claim being made against your estate and/or reduce the risk of your Will being deemed invalid by the Supreme Court of Victoria as a result of not meeting all formal requirements.
Our Will & Estates team is experienced and able to guide you through all of the following considerations you should have before making a Will:-
|Executor(s):||Who you appoint to administer your Estate. Many people will appoint their Spouse, Children or another family member as their Executor. However, others choose to appoint a “professional” in this role, such as their Solicitor or Accountant.|
The decision is yours and should be based on who you believe will best carry out the role. You may wish to add a clause in your Will which allows for Executors to be paid commission, which can be as much as 5% of the gross value of the assets of the Estate.
|Guardian(s):||Who you appoint to look after any infant children in the event of your death.|
|Gifts:||You may consider including specific gifts to family, friends or charities in your Will. This may include a family heirloom, cash gift or donation.|
|Beneficiaries:||Who you wish to benefit from your Estate. Residuary Beneficiaries receive the residue of your Estate after taking out any liabilities, specific gifts and testamentary expenses such as your funeral.|
Choosing your beneficiaries carefully is important, as unequal division between your children or other family members may expose your Estate to the risk of a challenge, which can cause great expense to your Estate.
|Burial/Cremation:||You can provide instructions to your Executors as to what your wishes are for burial or cremation.|
|Family Trusts, Companies and Businesses:||Whilst these assets cannot usually be included in your Will directly, obtaining expert advice is imperative to ensuring that documents are prepared to control the management of these assets when you no longer can.|
|Special Needs Beneficiaries:||You can make provision in your Will for the future care of any beneficiaries with a mental or physical disability.|
|Testamentary Trusts:||A Testamentary Trust can assist with asset protection and can also provide tax advantages.|
Depending on your situation, a simple Will may be all you need to ensure you provide for your loved ones. However, more complex estate planning may be needed if your personal circumstances includes self-managed super funds, business interests, trusts and blended families.
We recommend that you update your Will every three to five years to ensure that it still reflects your wishes. You should also consider updating your Will when there is a significant event in your life, such as marriage, divorce or separation, birth of a child or death of a loved one.