WHY DO YOU NEED A WILL?
Your Will is probably the most important document you will ever sign. It is the lasting expression of your life and achievements – and the only certain means of ensuring that your estate passes to those whom you wish to benefit.
THE NEED… Having a Will is absolutely essential for everyone over the age of eighteen. It is the only way for you to ensure that your affairs are settled exactly as you would wish after your death. If you don’t have a Will, your state will be settled according to state laws and your real wishes may never be fulfilled.
PREPARATION ... The most important aspect of preparing a Will is to seek professional advice. The cost of preparing a simple Will is quite modest and you should consult a solicitor or statutory trustee company.
UPDATING … Your circumstances change and so will those of the people and organisations you want to include. It is wise to review your Will at least every five years. You are quite free to change your Will as you desire, and your legal representative is the best person to advise and assist.
STORAGE… The safekeeping of your Will is most important. It is best to leave the original with your solicitor or trustee company. Another copy could be stored at home or in a safe deposit at your bank. Your executive needs to know where your Will is stored and it is advisable to make your next-of-kin aware too.
EXECUTORS … The person or persons you choose as Executors should be people you trust and consider competent to see your wishes are carried out according to the terms of your Will.
At times the task of Executor can be complicated and difficult. An Executor can, if he/she wishes, seek professional advice, or in fact appoint another person or company to act on his/her behalf.
It is worthwhile to consider appointing a solicitor or trustee company as Executor. It is also possible that your Executor may die before you, so it is wise to appoint an alternative Executor or Joint Executors.
Beneficiaries are the people and organisations that you want to benefit from your Estate. Whilst the decision is yours, it is always wise to include your immediate family, making fair provision for them. If family members do not consider that adequate provision has been made, it is possible for them to contest your Will in court.
It is also possible that people whom you have included in your Will may die before you. Because this may happen, you can include in your Will residual beneficiaries. A residual beneficiary is a person/s or organisation who receive whatever is left of your Estate after everyone else has received their share. Many people choose to include an organisation such as Somerville as a residual beneficiary.
Also allow in your Will for the effect of inflation. If for example you specify a particular amount now, it may only be worth a fraction of that amount in ten or twenty years. If you include Somerville in your Will, please allow adequate flexibility so that your gift can be channeled into the area of most need.
KINDS OF BEQUESTS
A bequest is a gift provided through a Will. It can be as large or small as you decide and a bequest is often made after providing for family and friends. A bequest to Somerville can be made in a variety of forms:
A percentage of your Estate … nominating Somerville as a beneficiary to a percentage of your Estate guards against the long term effect of inflation and takes into account changes in the size and value of your Estate.
A specific sum of money ... This form of bequest involves a donation of a specified value. A drawback is the effect of inflation or unforeseen changes in the size and value of your Estate.
Property, Jewellery and Furniture … Some of the activities conducted by Somerville could occur in homes and buildings left as bequests. Other kinds of bequests which can be of value to Somerville include jewellery, furniture and household items.
Investments … Shares, government bonds and other forms of investment such as art or antiques can be left to Somerville. A popular investment is a life insurance policy listing Somerville as beneficiary.
Gifts can also be given which take into account a preceding life. This can be effective in taking care of the financial needs of a loved one during their lifetime and after that, everything, or a proportion, would revert to Somerville.
The majority of Australia’s population and the majority of the workforce are women. Yet often women fail to make a Will, preferring to leave legal matters to the men in the family. It is very important that women take responsibility for making their own Wills. If you die without making a Will, the way your Estate is divided is out of your control.
Marriage and divorce affect Wills. A Will made before marriage will automatically be invalid after marriage, unless the Will specifically states it has been made in anticipation of marriage.
On the other hand, if you become divorced or separated, the Will you made when you were married is not made invalid. So, marriage cancels a Will, but divorce does not. If your marital status changes, it is advisable to make a new Will immediately.
For more information, contact Graham Franklin on 8920 4100 or view and download our free Wills and Bequests Guide.
Somerville Wills and Bequests Guide