Do I really need a Will & what are the steps to take?

Do I really need a Will & what are the steps to take?

  04 Jan 2024

No one likes to talk about death but it is a fact of life.

The problem is that by not talking about it, many people never get around to preparing for it either.

A common saying is that there are only two certainties in life – death and taxes – yet we generally prepare for our tax responsibilities much more effectively than we do for our eventual death.

The strange thing is that we work most of our lives and then seem to pay scant regard to what happens to our assets when we have departed this wondrous thing called life.

Most people don’t realise that assets in your name (estate assets) can only be passed on through your will – unless, of course, you are happy with the government deciding who gets what.

So it seems quite clear to me that if you want any input, then you will need a will.

Who can prepare your will?

Unfortunately, too many people think that a $30″‘will-kit” will suffice when it comes to the division of your assets post-mortem, but it usually does not.

In today’s society, we have a large proportion of blended families, which makes the preparation of a will more complex – especially if both parties have children from previous relationships.

That’s why it pays to use a professional to prepare your will and it’s also a good idea to prepare it at the same time as your partner to iron out any potential issues so the family’s collective wealth is retained.

Similarly, if someone has a larger asset base, the preparation of their will be more detailed than what can generally be achieved via a DIY kit bought at the local shopping centre.

It’s imperative to use a lawyer who is an expert in the preparation of wills and can help prevent any unhelpful issues, such as legal challenges, in the future through the professional creation of this important legal document.

Don’t forget that you will also need to have your will properly witnessed.

Who will manage your affairs when you’re dead?

In your will, you can nominate someone to carry out your wishes, which is a person called an executor.

You should choose someone with whom you will have a long-term relationship, such as a brother or aunt, because choosing a friend when you’re both 20 as your executor, may not still be appropriate when you die 60 years later.

The executor can seek professional assistance and in many cases, this is advisable, particularly with tax and other issues.

Also make sure someone knows where everything is such as routine bills, bank accounts, passwords, documents, and your list of assets and debts.

The executor can be the person or persons receiving all your wealth, a friend or relative or you can nominate a professional to do this who will charge the costs to your estate.

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