...and is it up to date?
You don't need to have lots of money to have a will, otherwise known as an estate plan. It's not something we like to consider but without one, you could risk leaving your loved ones with an awful situation at an emotional time. By planning ahead, you can be at peace of mind knowing your loved ones are cared for and that your wishes are carried out.
Why you should consider setting up a will
An estate plan can detail how you want your assets to be managed, how you want to be cared for (when you're not considered to be in a position to make your own decisions) and provide an advance healthcare directive. It's a lot to understand – so let's break it down.
What is a will?
A will is a legal document that forms a part of your estate plan. Without one, the courts will decide who gets your assets. A will can state:
- how you want your assets shared
- who will look after your children if they're still young
- any trusts you want to set up
- how much money you'd like to give to charities
- plans for your funeral
Your will can define how you'd like your estate to be administered, this can be managed through:
- a Family Trust
- a Testamentary Trust
- Power of Attorney, or
- directly to a beneficiary.
A beneficiary is the person who will receive the benefits listed in your will. You can appoint up to four people to administer your estate. You might like to take some time to consider how you'd like your estate to be managed and who is the most appropriate person for the responsibility.
How to make a will
For a fee, a solicitor will write your will. While there are costs, you will have confidence that it is done properly and will hold up in a court of law.
The Public Trustee offers a range of free and fee-based services relating to the development and administration for your will. For more information visit https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-justice/public-trustee
You can write your own will using a will kit, however, you might like to consider having a solicitor or Public Trustee review your will to make sure it is valid and to give you advice on how to best store your will for safekeeping.
If you're unsure or you think your situation might be uncommon, you might like to seek independent advice on how to work through this to best suit you and your family or partner's needs.
It could be a good idea to set a timely reminder to review your will every few years to make sure it is still relevant given so many things in our lives change.
Does a will cover my super?
It might come as a surprise – but no, it does not. It is important to ensure you have a binding nomination to direct where your super funds go – without this the super fund trustee will determine how your super funds are allocated.
When it's important to consider setting up a will
The timing for a will is a personal choice. If you're wondering whether it is the right time, some things you might like to consider include:
- if you have an asset
- if you have a family
- you have started earning money, or
- you're thinking about how you're going to manage your money as a couple.
There is some great information online that can help you understand more about Estate Plans and Wills.