Making a Will is the best way to ensure your wishes are observed and to prevent potential disputes regarding your Estate and affairs. It also provides security for loved ones and can help avoid unnecessary and costly complications at the time of your death. However, there is more to ensuring your loved ones are provided for, and avoiding disputes, than just having a Will.
Just documenting your wishes without regards to the current law can lead to costly issues and disputes for your estate in the future. Therefore, it is important to consider your wishes together with the law around trusts and deceased estates. Understanding your unique circumstances is essential to ensuring that your wishes are accurately and properly documented.
You may believe that what you want to happen to your estate is ‘simple’ and can easily be documented in your Will. However not all instructions and wishes are achievable without complex legal consideration and other supporting documents.
For example, a recent client wanted to leave his entire estate to one of his children and a nominal amount to the others. When questioned why, it was discovered the client believed that by leaving the other children a nominal amount in his will it would prevent them from making a claim on his estate. He was promptly advised that was not true. This client needed detailed advice and additional documents as part of his estate planning.
Accordingly, you may require the expertise of a lawyer in ‘planning your estate’ as opposed to just drafting a Will. If you have any of the following you may need estate planning advice in addition to a Will:
- Do you have a blended family?
- Are you excluding a child, spouse or dependent from your Will?
- Are you concerned about asset protection and taxation benefits for your beneficiaries?
- Do you have jointly held assets you want to gift to another person?