A will is essential ...
A Will is a legal document that clearly states how you would like your assets - such as property, cash, shares or jewellery - distributed when you die and who should have guardianship of your children.
Your Will also appoints your executor - the person or entity you have entrusted with administering your estate and distributing your assets.
... But it's not everything
A Will is an essential part of an estate plan but it does not cover all areas of your estate. A Will only deals with personally owned assets while an estate plan can include a number of documents (such as Powers of Attorney, instructions on superannuation assets, and advanced health care directives) takes into account your total wealth, including your superannuation, interests in family trusts and business interests.
|YOUR ESTATE PLAN PROCESS
- Includes a Will – and other documents needed to carry out your instructions
- Involves a full review of your total wealth
- Considers how best to transfer wealth to intended beneficiaries
- Identifies risks and challenges to the estate
- Ensures there is a plan to manage financial and personal affairs in the event of incapacity
Beware The DIY Option
It’s also important to understand the pitfalls of ‘do it yourself’ (DIY) solutions. While a DIY Will may seem like an efficient and cost-effective option, they are notorious for creating stress - and costs - on the loved ones left behind, because they:
- are extremely basic and often not comprehensive enough to be clear
- are prone to errors with unintended consequences
- can result in costly litigation
- fail to properly benefit the intended beneficiaries the way the person making the Will expected
Most common DIY Will legal cases arise as a result of:
- the construction of the will, which affects the entitlements of the beneficiaries, and executor appointments
- an understandable gap in the knowledge of the will maker of legal concepts applicable to wills and estate administration
- incorrect execution (that is, the Will is not properly signed or finalised so it is not legally effective)
- failure to adequately deal with non-estate assets.