It’s a fact of life that we never stop worrying about our children or loved ones – no matter how old they are. Every day we come across clients just like you who have significant concerns about their family or loved ones. Their children may have marital problems, extreme debt pressures, unstable businesses, difficult spouses, disabilities, social or mental issues.
Our clients’ siblings or parents may also have financial or other challenges that cause concern. Often people become overwhelmed by their personal circumstances and decide that it may be all too hard to make or update their Will, but this isn’t the answer.
Having a complex situation is even more reason to have a high quality Will.
Recently we had a client who had three adult sons, the eldest though has schizophrenia, so he required special conditions in his Will. He wanted to make provision for all three sons, including long-term care for his eldest. Additionally he needed to ensure his eldest son’s assets were protected, as he couldn’t manage his financial affairs himself. This called for the creation of Trusts and special provisions in the client’s Will.
Other times we have clients who wanted to provide for a child (or grandchild) but not the spouse or step children.
The problems even extend to those without children. We had a client in her sixties come to us for help. She didn’t have any children, and wanted to leave a small bequest to her brother, with the remainder going to some charities and some close friends. She was concerned that on her death that her brother may be pressured to make a claim on her all of her estate. The client wanted to ensure her wishes were safeguarded.
Scenarios like this are all too common and most standard Wills don’t cater for them.
It’s a huge problem when you consider reports that over the next 25 years $1,455 billion is going to change hands from the generation over 65 to the next.
What should I do?
You never know what’s just around the corner but you can look beyond tomorrow and safeguard your future wishes with a quality up-to-date Will.
A high quality Will is a legally binding document to help avoid confusion and disputes at a time when loved ones are trying to cope with the loss of someone close to them.
Having a high quality and up-to-date Will has the following benefits:
Securing your wishes – A Will is essential if you want to ensure that your wishes are carried out after your death.
Peace of mind and the avoidance of disputes – You give yourself peace of mind knowing that you have put your affairs in order. Making a Will can help spare your family and friends needless heartache and problems.
Specific Bequests – You can specify exactly where you want your money and possessions to go. You can make special provisions for your immediate family, other relatives, friends and charities. You may want to give away items of sentimental value as well as those of monetary value. Only by making a Will with specific provisions can you be certain that a special item goes to the person whom you want to receive it.
Legal Guardian for children – If you have children under 18 it is important to make provision for them in the event of your death. This is particularly important in the case of one-parent families or unmarried parents living together.
Tax – There are financial advantages of having a Will. In certain circumstances, you can use a Will to minimise the amount of tax payable and your family will be spared unexpected legal bills.
What if I don’t make a Will?
If you die without leaving a Will you are said to die intestate and the Law decides how your money and possessions should be divided. Although your next of kin will receive some of your estate, the situation is more complicated and problematic than people realise. Your assets may end up in the wrong hands.
Without a Will, in certain circumstances your estate may simply pass to the Government and you will have had no say in where your money or possessions will go.
But I already have a Will
Having a Will is a great start but it’s equally important for it to be up-to-date.
Life and circumstances change over the years and so should your Will. There may be marriages, divorces, children, grandchildren and changes to your assets that need to be taken into account.
It’s a good idea to renew your Will every five years or so.
Every Will is unique and we have the expertise to help navigate any complexities that exist or could arise.