Thanks for your many responses to my last blog “I've made my Will...but where should I keep it?” where to keep my will It seems I jumped the gun, as many of you haven’t made your Will yet. Don’t worry – you are not alone!
We all know making a will is important, but we can tend to put it way down on the “to do” list. So I asked our Financial Planner, Patrick Jong Pat Jong's profile for some guidance. Over to Pat…
Here's the general advice I give to my clients for their estate planning...
Why do I need a Will?
A clear and legally sound Will makes clear your wishes in the event of your death, thus removing doubt and pressure from your loved ones, in what will be a difficult time for them.
A Will is a legal document that - in particular - sets out how your assets are to be distributed when you die. It can also include other wishes or instructions eg your funeral arrangements. Your Will should be kept in a safe place; your family should know where that is. If there is no valid Will when you die, the courts will follow intestacy laws to settle your estate.
What other documents do I need?
A will is just one aspect of Estate Planning, which includes other considerations such as creating various Powers of Attorney (general, financial, medical), which are activated if you are incapacitated in a significant way, and so unable to make decisions about your assets or health. Estate Planning is one of my Financial Planning services. If you’d like to discuss it, please contact me.
How do I make a legal Will?
Making a will can be a simple process. You can use DIY kits or get legal advice. If your personal relationships are quite straightforward, then you might find a DIY kit from providers such as the State Trustees state DIY will kit is sufficient for you.
I know a man who knew he was dying so did the right thing by making a will for his modest estate. He chose to use a DIY kit. Unfortunately, there was some ambiguity in his wording, so his widow and daughter from a previous marriage have been in the courts battling out his intent, eroding the small estate with lawyers’ fees and adding stress to an already sad time for them.
If you have any doubt about your ability to record your wishes clearly and unambiguously, or any complexity in your personal or financial affairs, it’s wise to get a lawyer’s assistance to write your will. Complexity in personal affairs might be a previous marriage, children from previous relationship, spendthrift beneficiary, troubled relationship between beneficiaries, troubled marriage, or any other trigger to the likelihood of a will dispute. In your financial affairs, this might be eg SMSF, multiple properties, own business etc.
What should I do next?
If you’d like any advice about Estate Planning, or want a recommendation on good lawyers to use to prepare your Will and Powers of Attorney, please call me Ph 0402 643 893. or read more about me at about Pat Jong .
I hope this has been helpful for you.
Patrick Jong, Financial Adviser