Here are four key issues to consider when establishing or reviewing a Will, accompanied by tips for making an effective Will.
1. Who should you appoint as your beneficiaries?
While you can leave your estate to pretty much anyone you like, you do need to be careful. Challenges against a Will often occur when people feel they haven’t been provided for fairly. If you think your Will is likely to be challenged, you may want to leave a letter of wishes. This is an additional document explaining why the Will has been drafted in the manner chosen and can be referred to when a claim is being defended.
2. What assets do you want your beneficiaries to receive?
While some people feel the need to specifically gift every asset they own, a lengthy list of gifts is usually not encouraged. Assets held at the time of making your Will (and their value) may differ significantly from the assets owned at the time of death. It can therefore be a good idea to only gift a small number of specific assets in your Will and assign a percentage of the remainder of the estate to each beneficiary.
3. Who should you appoint as your executor?
Your executor is responsible for a range of tasks, such as locating the Will, organising the funeral, arranging probate, collecting the assets, repaying debts and distributing the assets. When choosing your executor, make sure you select someone who is trustworthy, in tune with your objectives, and capable of performing this very important role.
While some people appoint a family member as their executor, a Trustee company can be a good alternative – particularly if your Estate is complicated and/or suitable friends or family are not available. A Trustee company provides expert administration and legal services and charges a fee, typically paid from your Estate, after your death.
4. Should you establish a testamentary trust?
A testamentary trust is a special type of trust that comes into effect upon your death, if you have included specific provisions in your Will. Because the Trustee owns and controls the assets, your estate can be protected from a number of potential risks and your beneficiaries can be provided for in a tax-effective manner.
Naturally everyone’s situation is different and we recommend you speak to one of our Financial Adviser's to find out more.