10 STEPS TO MAKE A WILL

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10 STEPS TO MAKE A WILL

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Making a will is not a morbid thing to do. A will is a legal document that says what you would like to happen with your money, belongings and other assets (your estate) when you pass away.
Use our 10-step guide to prepare your Will instructions today:

1. Guardianship of Children
Most people think about writing their first or a new Will after the birth of a child. In doing this, you secure your wishes for the future of your children if yourself and your partner are no longer around.
When writing your Will, you can nominate another person(s) to care for your children should you pay away before they are adults. This is being called Guardians.
When choosing whom to nominate as a guardian, you should consider:
• Who your child currently has a bond with;
• Whether this person already has or is planning to have children;
• Similarities in lifestyle, values and religious beliefs – do their lifestyle choices suit what you would want for your children?
• Who could take on the role physically, financially and emotionally?
This also allows you to write down what key values you would like your children to have and your wishes and “dreams” for your children which may include; where they should reside, who they should see, education and extra-curricular activities.

2. Appointing an executor
Your executor is a person or organization appointed to assist in carrying out your final wishes. When you die, your executor becomes responsible for managing your estate with the assistance of a solicitor.
In some instances, there may be no one suitable for this role or you may fear that there is a risk of family conflict. In these circumstances, you can nominate a neutral person to take on this role including a friend, State Trustee, accountant or your Solicitor. As this can be a very emotional time for your loved ones, this will provide peace of mind for them at the time of your passing. Using an independent executor often comes at a cost to the estate and this should be taken into consideration prior to nominating a third party.

3. Beneficiaries
Beneficiaries are the people, charities or organisations that you wish to benefit from your Will. Often, beneficiaries receive a specific gift and/or share in your residuary (after all debts are paid) estate. Each beneficiary’s share is generally expressed as a percentage of the residuary estate.
A person of any age, including minor’s, can be a beneficiary. However, where a minor is listed for property or shares, the executor is responsible for administering the assets of the minor beneficiary in accordance with the terms of the Will.

4. Assets
List your assets including an approximate value of each asset and whether there is a mortgage or loan.
If you own an asset jointly, it is important that you identify this. In particular, this is important for real estate or businesses. For real estate, there are two ways you can share ownership with someone, “jointly” or as “tenants in common”. It is important you speak with your Solicitor about the difference in ownership and what this means for your estate.

5. Cherished things
When considering your assets, don’t overlook the smaller things. Most items have a value but others have a personal or emotional value.
It is often the case that parents or grandparents leave their children specific gifts or items such as jewelry or family heirlooms.

6. Giving to charities or a bequest
Charities can be included as beneficiaries in Wills.
An example of making a bequest to a charity is leaving a portion of your estate to a specific charity so that the charity can be identified and the executor can identify exactly what and where you wanted the bequest to go.

7. Funeral instructions
Writing your Will is a time to consider your preferred funeral arrangements. We recommend including final instructions in your Will to ensure that those close to you are aware of your wishes.
You may wish to consider the following:
• Cremation; or
• Burial; and
• Organ donation
As these topics are often hard to discuss with loved ones, including the details in your Will allows you to make the decision and have the last say! However, we do recommend that you speak with your loved ones about your wishes.

8. Accountant details
Seek out the details of your accountant and financial planner and provide these details so that they may accompany your Will for future reference.

9. Managing complex situations
Life isn’t always straightforward, we understand this better than anyone. Knowing this, you are able to customize your Will to accommodate your specific circumstances. In customizing your Will, we suggest you consider whether you wish to:
• Exclude someone who would normally benefit from your Will;
• Previous marriage and/or divorces;
• Whether any beneficiaries have any special needs or circumstances;
• Companies and your positions; and
• Whether you have a self-managed super fund.
We strongly recommend that you seek independent advice if you feel that any of the above circumstances have not been covered in your current Will.

10. Enduring Power of Attorney/ Enduring Guardianship
Wills are designed to express your wishes once you are no longer around to do so. Wills only come into effect once you have passed away.
An Enduring Power of Attorney and/or Enduring Guardianship allow you to nominate a person to make decisions on your behalf once you are no longer able to do so. These decisions include managing your financial affairs, medical decisions, living/accommodation or making personal decisions for you.

At O’Brien Winter Partners we have been assisting our clients with their succession planning for over 20 years and offer this service to any of our clients. Contact one of our commercial team on 02 4949 2000 to discuss why your Will matters to us!

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