Why you need a Will today!
Irrespective of your age or circumstances, you should have in place two key estate planning documents to ensure the timely management of your affairs in the event you pass away or are incapacitated. By putting these two documents in place, you can ensure that your interests and the interests of your family and loved ones are protected.
This article will deal with the first of those two documents, your will. The second document, an enduring power of attorney (EPA), will be discussed in a later article.
The only way to ensure that your assets are managed and distributed in accordance with your wishes when you pass away is to have in place a valid will. If you die without a will, your estate will be dealt with in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy, which is essentially a pre-determined distribution of your assets in accordance with legislation. A will also provides family members with a clear statement of your wishes and some bulwark against litigation in the event a family member feels entitled to more than they receive.
A properly drafted will can assist your beneficiaries in taking your assets in a tax effective manner and if necessary, protect those assets in a trust arrangement to ensure that third parties or
non-lineal family members cannot access them.
Whilst draft-your-own will kits are common in newsagents or online, only with a will properly drafted by a lawyer can you obtain some certainty that your wishes will be carried out. The drafting and execution of a will has particular specific requirements that if not adhered to, can jeopardise the validity of the document. Why leave something to chance and trust your entire estate and your family’s future to a $19.95 document?
Both a will and EPA provide the certainty and comfort that in the event of the unthinkable happening, your affairs will be handled in a way that is consistent with your wishes and removes a significant burden that can be placed on your loved ones.