Writing a Will is a task people tend to avoid for as long as possible. We all know how important they are, but who really wants to think about the event of their own death
Let’s make it as easy as possible and narrow it down to 5 key points.
- What will be included?
- Who will be your Executor?
- Who will you leave your assets to?
- Who will look after your children?
- Do you have requests for your farewell?
What do I include?
- Your assets: This can be real estate, cash in the bank, shares, cars etc. Essentially, anything you own should be considered at the time of writing your Will.
- Personal items: Belongings such as jewellery, collectables, glassware, artwork etc. You may wish to gift these valuable items to specific people.
- Rights: You can give the right for an individual to appoint a Trustee of a Family Trust
- Powers: You can appoint certain powers to your Executors, such as the power to “postpone a sale”.
- Guardianship of your children
- Funeral Arrangements: Such as whether you wish to be buried, cremated or have your organs donated.
Who should be my Executor?
Your Executor will be in charge of managing your assets once you have died and distributing them in accordance with your wishes outlined in your Will.
Your Executor must have capacity to deal with sometimes complex, legal and financial obligations. Ideally, your Executor would be local, reliable and in good health. It would be wise to have the discussion with the person you propose to appoint as Executor, to make sure they are both willing and able to carry out the task.
If you wish to appoint a family member(s) as your Executor(s), make sure that they get along with your Beneficiaries. There is nothing worse than having two Executors (for example, two children) arguing over how to carry out the terms of the will (e.g. when and how to sell a house).
For more information about appointing your Executor, click the link to our article “Who Should I Appoint as my Executor”. https://www.tonkinlaw.com/resources/who-should-i-appoint-to-be-my-executor
Who will I leave my assets to?
This part is up to you (with some exceptions). You should consider if you have provided for your spouse (including de facto spouse) and children, or any other dependants you may have. These people could be able to make a claim against your estate.
To learn more, click to read our article, “Who can Challenge my Will”. https://www.tonkinlaw.com/resources/who-can-challenge-my-will.
You can also leave money to charities.
Who Will look after my children?
If your children are under the age of 18, this is an imperative consideration when writing a Will. You should appoint a trusted friend or relative that shares your beliefs and values and will care for your child until they reach the age of 18.
Whilst this clause is not legally binding, it will prove your intentions. You should consider the financial circumstances of the appointed guardian, their location so that you’re not uprooting your children and their lifestyle choices
Consider, is this person an appropriate guardian? Would they act in my children’s best interests? If not, or if there is a dispute, the Family Court will have overriding power to appoint a guardian, at their discretion.
How will you be farewelled?
Whilst this can seem quite a morbid discussion, it is more an opportunity for you to tell your loved ones how you want your life to be celebrated. It is comforting for your family to know that they are carrying out your wishes, once you are gone. Things to consider are:
- Would you like to be buried or cremated?
- Do you have preferences for a headstone or memorial plaque?
- Do you have specific cultural or religious requirements?
- Do you want The Beatles, or Beethoven played at your funeral?
You can express these wishes in your Will.
These 5 points should be your key considerations when writing a Will. We will guide you through each point and provide you with the necessary legal advice along the way.