Many people put off making a Will until it is too late, while others don’t think they need one. However, if you have property – and this includes superannuation – you need to go and see lawyers and organise a Will to ensure it is distributed properly after your death. Dying without a Will or consulting a wills lawyer only makes thing more difficult for your family and it costs a lot to have the court decide who should benefit from your assets. This cost will be taken out of your assets, so your family will get much less than otherwise.
The trouble with an old Will
You may have made a Will years ago and think that is the end of the matter, but just like many things in this life, a Will may need to be upgraded or rewritten. If you divorce and/or remarry, your current Will is no longer of any use as it is not considered valid. At least, that’s how it is in Western Australia. So a new Will must be made to take into consideration your new circumstances. Then again, if your Will was made when you were younger and you now have more children or grandchildren that have not been mentioned, you may want to rewrite your will to include them.
How a lawyer can help
Making a Will should be done with the help of a lawyer to ensure that you get everything right. Your lawyer will be able to give a great deal of pertinent advice, taking into consideration your particular assets and circumstances. When this is done there will be less likelihood of your Will being contested or considered invalid.
We often enjoy stories about a Will being scribbled down on a piece of paper; this is not the ideal way to dispose of your assets, even though the story endings are usually happy. In real life the ending may not be the same. There are several things that can make such a Will invalid.
- It may not have been signed by two witnesses
- It may not deal with the whole of your estate
- Your wishes may not be clearly stated
- There may be no Executor appointed, or the one appointed may not be appropriate
- And of course, it may not even be found, so an earlier Will is used.
If you want your Will to truly benefit your loved ones, don’t take any risks, but have it drawn up in the presence of a lawyer who will ensure that everything is done legally and according to your wishes.
Enduring power of attorney (EPA)
You may also want to draw up a document to appoint a specific person to make financial and other decisions on your behalf in case there comes a time when you are unable to do so. This will be a person whom you trust completely with all your affairs.