Written by Krysten Russo-Battagliolo, Solicitor, Wills & Estates
With the commencement of a new year, now is the ideal time to consider making a Will or review your existing Will. Many people neglect to review their Wills regularly – which can sometimes have undesirable results on their family when they die.
Why should I review my Will?
Circumstances change over time. It’s important to recognise that these changes may have an impact on your overall estate planning and current Will. Circumstances in which you should consider updating your Will are as follows:
- Relationships: Family dynamics change over time. Many Australians are unaware that their Will becomes invalid when they marry. Divorce will automatically render your Will invalid. So, with the trend of hosting divorce parties, it is essential that before you start preparing your party, you update your Will.
Blended families are becoming common in recent years, so it’s important that your Will is properly prepared to protect the interests of all the parties to the relationship and any children each party may have from a previous relationship.
- Changes to your financial situation: Significant changes to the value or structure of your assets and liabilities – such as acquiring or disposing of significant assets – warrant a review of your estate planning. Your Will may no longer reflect your current financial situation. Have you considered the tax implications of your current Will? If you have acquired a new business, does your current Will adequately deal with it upon your death?
- Location: It is becoming more common for people to relocate to different states or overseas at some stage in their lives. Different jurisdictions have different laws in relation to deceased estates and it is important that you understand how the jurisdiction of the state or country that you reside in may affect your estate. There are also taxation implications to consider if any of your beneficiaries reside in a foreign jurisdiction.
- Taxation: Taxation and superannuation laws are consistently evolving. Reviewing your Will and estate planning regularly will ensure that you minimise the tax consequences on your estate and beneficiaries upon your death.
Before meeting your lawyer to review your Will, it will help to have the following information:
- An up to date family tree – a list of all your immediate family, including their full names and addresses, their relationship to you and their ages;
- Who you would like to appoint as your Executor or Executors (this is the person who will attend to the administration of your estate when you die);
- If you have children under the age of 18, who you would like to appoint as their guardian.
- Complete details including names and addresses of the people or charitable organisations that you wish to benefit from your estate (your beneficiaries);
- A list of all of your assets such as your home, bank accounts, shares (public or private), vehicles and liabilities such as your mortgage, personal loans and any other debts you may have;
- Details of any business interests, private companies and family trusts;
- Details of your superannuation fund and insurance policies and any current nominated beneficiaries;
We have experienced lawyers at HHG Legal Group who can assist you with your estate planning needs. If you don’t have a Will or require a review of your current Will, we will ensure your wishes regarding your estate are properly documented. Please contact our Wills and Estate Planning team on (08) 9322 1966 with your queries.