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Everyone Needs a Will

Everyone Needs a Will

Most Australians do not have a will prepared, but everyone needs a will!  Why do I need a will? To ensure that your assets are distributed to the person you choose. To assign guardianship to minors. To detail how your electronic data is to be dealt with – for example, will your facebook, Instagram and twitter accounts be shut down? To detail where your passwords are stored and who can have access to them – for example, how will people access your laptop and mobile phone?   How does marriage or separation impact on my will? If you are married and do not have a will then all your possessions will go to your spouse. You need a will if you want to make sure certain gifts pass to specific people – for example, if you want your jewellery to go to your child. If you are married but you and your partner have separated – without a will, your assets will still pass to your spouse! If you developed a will before you got married, then your will might now be invalid! You should get legal advice as soon as possible to ensure you have a valid will.   When should I update my will? Once you have an up to date will, you need to make sure you review it every three to five years to ensure it is current. Keep in mind that changes in your circumstances such as the purchase or sale of an asset, a birth, death, marriage or divorce are some of the events that mean you will need to update your will....
Update Your Will When You Get Married Or Divorced!

Update Your Will When You Get Married Or Divorced!

Everyone needs a will. The primary purpose of a will is to ensure that your assets are distributed to whomever you choose in the amount and manner that you choose. Wills can also cover matters such as assigning guardianship to minors. Not only is it important to ensure you have a will prepared, but it is equally important to make sure that your will is valid and up to date. A common life event that can render a will invalid is marriage. Marriage has the effect of revoking any will made before marriage, unless the will specifically states that it was made in contemplation of the marriage. What this means is, you should speak to your lawyer shortly after you marry to check whether your will needs to be updated. When a person dies without leaving a will, if the spouses hold real estate as joint tenants then the property automatically goes to the surviving spouse on the death of the other. However, where there are other property involved (such as bank accounts, motor vehicles, shares etc), the surviving spouse will often have to apply to the Probate Division of the Supreme Court for letters of administration and appointment as executor of the estate. This can be avoided if there is a valid will in place. Divorce does not automatically revoke a will. It is equally important to update your will after you separate. Although marriage can render a will invalid, getting divorced does not automatically revoke a will. It is best to obtain legal advice in relation to updating your will as soon as you separate, to ensure...
A will can prevent a dispute over your estate

A will can prevent a dispute over your estate

Tension and conflict within a family over the distribution of assets from a deceased’s estate is not as uncommon as you might think. Some of the main causes of disputes include: A view that the assets have not been fairly divided Confusion, uncertainty or differences of opinion around what the deceased would have wanted An executor behaving unfairly or unethically.   How can you prevent a dispute over your estate? It is important to have an up to date will that clearly sets out how your assets are to be divided. It is also recommended that you communicate your wishes to the family early on. If you don’t want to discuss this with your family directly, you could also prepare a letter to the executor explaining your wishes. This can reduce uncertainty and prevent any surprises and misunderstandings between family members after you have passed away. Once you have an up to date will, you need to make sure you review it every three to five years to ensure it is current. Keep in mind that changes in your circumstances such as acquisition or sale of an asset, a birth, death, marriage or divorce are some of the events that mean you will need to update your will. At the end of the day, planning the division of your estate can be a complex and an emotional process for you, but if you ensure you have a comprehensive will that sets out how the assets are to be divided, and you communicate the reasons why, you will ensure your family’s continued harmony after you are gone....