Making a will is important for everyone over the age of 18, to ensure their wishes are followed and their assets are distributed correctly after they die.
If you don’t have a will your assets will be divided according to how the law dictates in the rules of intestacy. A will is also the place where you can indicate to your family and friends your wishes on other important matters, such as who you want to be the guardians of your children.
Regularly review your will
Preparing a will is not a once-off event. It is sensible to review your will regularly, and we suggest that this be done a minimum of every three to five years.
Changes in your life may create difficulties in interpreting an earlier will. In certain circumstances, major changes can make your will ineffective or invalid. It is likely that your needs and circumstances will change many times in the course of your life and with those changes it is prudent to consider how they impact upon your will.
Healthy Will checklist
Here is a checklist of life changes which can impact on the validity of your will and which you need to consider in examining the legal health of your existing will.
- Have you married? Or separated from your partner? Have you had any children?
- Is the person you named as executor (to carry out the wishes in your will) still alive and well enough to do the job?
- Have the circumstances of any beneficiaries changed to make you reconsider your wishes, or have any of them died?
- Have you nominated any specific gifts that are no longer valid or don’t exist? For example, have you sold a property that you had left to someone in the will?
- Have you acquired any new assets that you would want to make specific plans for in your will?
At the same time as you check the health of your will, it is also a good idea to check your super and life insurance.
Many people assume their superannuation will be divided up in accordance with the wishes in their will, but that is not necessarily the case. You need to look at your super policy to check how you have nominated that your super should be allocated, and that it is still allocated in the way you want. Sometimes, a nominated beneficiary direction will lapse after three years.
At the same time, check the division of any life insurance you have in your policy, and update it if necessary.
The important thing is to consider your circumstances at every major personal milestone in your life.
Any Will you have made is likely to become out of date and no longer accurately represent your wishes in some way following changes in your life, possibly within a few years of drawing it up. It will depend on circumstances that are unique to you.
If you would like to discuss a new Will or changes in your circumstances and a review of your current Will please call us on (02) 9963 9800 or via our contact form.