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Things to consider when preparing to make a will

14 Nov 2016

Considerations before preparing your will

Your will is your voice after you’re gone. It is the most important document that you’ll ever prepare. The clearer your instructions, the better it is for the people you leave behind. Whether you’re using a State Trustees Legal Will Kit or utilising the expertise of professional will writer keep these considerations in mind before preparing your will.

1. Guardianship

You can nominate a trusted person(s) to care for your children until they are adults. When choosing a guardian consider their lifestyle, values, religious beliefs, relationship with your children, their location and if they are physically, financially and emotionally responsible to take on the task. Document your wishes and store this information with your Will.

2. Assets

Compile a list of your assets both digital and physical. List the approximate value of physical assets, identify those with a mortgage or loan and locate your certificate of title for property.

If a property is ‘jointly owned’ it does not form part of your will and surviving owner automatically acquires the property. If the property is owned as ‘tenants in common’, the portion you own may be dealt with in your will.

3. Cherished things

Considering your smaller personal items that may have an intrinsic, personal or emotional value. Our will writers often see parents or grandparents leave their children specific items such as jewellery or family heirlooms.

4. Appointing an executor

Your executor is responsible to act upon the wishes outlined in your will. Being an executor can take a substantial amount of time and comes with great responsibility, including having to make legal and commercial decisions and resolve disputes.

5. Beneficiaries

Beneficiaries are the persons that you wish to benefit from your will. Beneficiaries may receive specific gifts and/or a share (usually expressed as a percentage) of your residuary estate ─ the amount of funds available after payment of debts, funeral and testamentary expenses.

6. Giving to charities or making a bequest

Charities can be included as beneficiaries in wills. Do you intend to make a bequest? If so, decide which specific charity or charities you would like to benefit and clearly document your bequest in your will.

7. Funeral instructions

When writing your will consider your funeral arrangements. This can be a difficult topic to discuss with your loved ones, however recording your intentions ensures there is no confusion at a time when they are grieving your loss.

8. Managing complex circumstances

Life isn’t always straight-forward – there may be complexities in your family, financial circumstances, businesses etc. Your will can be customised to accommodate your wishes and needs. The best way to ensure this is to consider, consult and discuss the circumstances with a solicitor or professional will writer.

9. Financial contacts

Include current contact information for your accountant and financial advisors in a document stored with your will. Your accountant and financial advisor’s details are required by your executor to administer your estate.

10. Enduring powers of attorney

When you make your will, you can also consider preparing your powers of attorney. An enduring power of attorney allows you to appoint another person to make decisions for you when you are unable to make decisions yourself. It allocates the responsibility to another trusted person, chosen by you, to make decisions on your behalf.

How we can help

No matter how straightforward or complicated your situation is, we can help you prepare your will. Call us today on 03 9667 6444 for a confidential, obligation-free discussion about your circumstances.

In addition to our face-to-face will writing services, you can complete your will online in as little as 30 minutes for just $69.

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