Nobody likes to think about immortality, which is probably why a large number of Australians have not prepared their own will as yet. For those who have families or who have complicated estates, this is a very shortsighted decision, however. If you're unlucky enough to pass suddenly, your family and those who are left behind will have to deal not only with their grief, but with complicated settlement matters. If you haven't got a clue how to proceed but know that you have to, what are the key issues that you need to clarify?
The Initial Tasks
Firstly, you have to go into great detail to determine exactly what you have in terms of assets. This will include not only the obvious items, but everything that is of sentimental value that you want to bequeath to somebody else. It's really easy to determine how much money you've got in the banks, or the value of any investments you may hold, but you've also got to put a price on vehicles and properties. A simple online spreadsheet can be used, so that you can update it on a monthly basis as well.
Choosing the Executors
For many, the biggest challenge is in deciding who will sort everything out in the event. You have to name this person in your will, who will then have to execute the estate and settle all your affairs. This is not something that you can do without first consulting the individual, as there is a lot of work involved. Make sure that they are responsible, understand the implications and agree to go forward.
The Detailed Work
Share with them the details of the spreadsheet that you compiled, so that they can see all the assets in question. Let them know about other financial affairs as well, because they will need to settle any taxes (out of the estate) or outstanding bills left over. The remaining assets will then need to be distributed according to your last will and testament. It may also be necessary for the executor to set up a trust, in the case of beneficiaries who are yet to pass the age of 18.
Do You Need a Spare?
Many people choose a pair of executors, in case one is simply not able to take on the duties for some reason. It's perfectly okay to nominate your partner, but in so far as they are frequently by your side, this could be a risk in the event of an unfortunate, fatal accident.
Do You Need a Guardian?
Separately, determine whether you need a guardian to look after your children, should both of their parents pass at the same time. This is something that is frequently overlooked when people draw up a will, but it's not something that you want to leave to the court system to decide.
Nominating an Attorney
It may be a good idea for you to talk with your attorney to see whether they will become one of the executors. If you have a complex will or if there are children involved, it can be advantageous as a solicitor can handle registration and trust matters in this situation.
For more information, contact a wills and estate lawyer.Share