Christmas and New Year are a time for family, celebration and indulgence. The silly season brings with it overseas holidays, marriages and births.
Did you know that if you marry or even divorce this can make your Will invalid?
Your Will becomes invalid when you marry or divorce, unless you express a clear intention in your Will that it is made in contemplation of your marriage or divorce.
If your Will is invalid, on death your estate is treated as if you did not have a Will, and your assets are distributed according to a legal formula. In many if not most cases the formula is not what people intended.
For example, your new spouse may only receive a fraction of what you want to leave to them.
When should I update my Will?
“Triggers” throughout life that are reminders of when it is important to consider updating your Will:
- Going on a holiday – particularly overseas
- Buying a home or investment property, or purchasing other significant assets
- Death of a spouse
- Birth or death of children, grandchildren or other intended beneficiaries
- Entering into a new relationship and marriage
- Separation, divorce or property settlement with a former partner
- Formation of a family trust or company
- Establishing a self managed superannuation fund
- Entering into a new business or changing your business structure
- Onset of a potentially serious illness
- A beneficiary suffering from a disability or legal incapacity
What else should I consider?
Regardless of where you are traveling, it may be a good idea to have an Enduring Power of Attorney. That is, someone you appoint, who you trust, to manage your affairs and make legal, financial and property decisions on your behalf in your absence.
At HHG Legal Group, we deal every day with the costly confusion that is all too often left when people pass on without a valid Will or with a Will that is out dated or doesn’t do what they intended. Likewise where someone loses capacity and doesn’t have an Enduring Power of Attorney in place.
Bernadette Duell is a Senior Wills and Estates and Commercial lawyer in the Albany office of HHG Legal Group. This is general information only, and does not constitute specific legal advice. If you would like further information in relation to this matter contact Bernadette Duell on 1800 609 945, Janene Bon at firstname.lastname@example.org Or Grace Ng at email@example.com.