A Will determines who is responsible for managing your estate, who will receive your assets and any conditions or restrictions that you wish to impose on your beneficiaries.
You can also establish a guardian and trustee for any underage children.
Each person must have their own Will, however we often draft Wills for couples that are essentially ‘mirrors’ of each other.
When establishing a Will, you must consider:
- Executor – This is the person, or persons, who will manage the collection and distribution of your estate. It is a position of responsibility and your executor(s) should be carefully selected. A professional executor is sometimes a better option to a family member or friend and we can accept appointment as executor in appropriate situations.
- Beneficiaries – Who is going to receive your estate? You should carefully consider your moral and financial obligations and ensure that you weigh the needs of competing beneficiaries. You should also consider backup beneficiaries, in case one or more of your primary beneficiaries predecease you.
- Conditions or directions – You might wish to impose some reasonable conditions on your beneficiaries before they receive their gifts, most commonly a requirement to reach a certain age. You can also leave directions about your assets, say for example if you do not wish for the family home to be sold before your children have completed school or university.
- Guardians and Trustees for underage children – If both parents have passed away, then who will be the guardian of any underage children? You can also decide who will manage the inheritance for any beneficiaries while they are still too young to receive it directly.
- Protection from challenges – Sometime there are people who will be disappointed at the provisions you make and we can advise you how to limit the prospect of these people making a successful challenge against your estate.
- Assets outside your estate – Not all assets can be gifted in your Will. Many jointly owned assets will pass automatically to the other joint owner, unless you take steps to prevent this. Also trusts, superannuation, companies and businesses might all fall outside your Will, depending on how they are structured. See our following Succession for Trusts, Businesses and Companies and Superannuation sections for further information.
Can we assist you with your Will?