The importance of a Will

Studies show that at least 45% of Australians do not have a valid Will1; is this you?

If you die 'intestate' (without a valid Will), your assets will be distributed in accordance with law, which varies according to the State or Territory you live in. A Will is an important document that sets out your wishes for the distribution of your estate upon your death. You should have a valid Will in place to provide directions as to how your appointed executor/s must manage your estate, and to ensure that assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes and passed to your beneficiaries in a tax-effective manner.

While you will need professional legal advice to help you work through all the issues associated with making a Will, here are some steps to consider:

Step 1: Consider your assets

Make sure your Will covers all your assets – people have left Wills listing their entire record collections but forgetting their house, car and other assets! Some people bequeath assets that are not actually owned by them, such as joint assets, life insurance, family trusts, etc. So make sure any asset is yours to bequeath.

Step 2: Determine the likely beneficiaries

What do you want to leave and to whom? It may be preferable to specify proportions or percentages of assets rather than dollar amounts where possible, as their value can change over time. You may also want to itemise some special items such as collections or artworks. Where you think your choices may be controversial, consider including an explanation for your decision – this may help avoid disputes later.

Step 3: Get professional legal advice

The importance of making a Will cannot be underestimated because it is arguably one of the most significant documents that any person will ever produce. A lawyer can ensure that your Will is legally enforceable – that it includes all your assets, and is properly executed, among other things.

Step 4: Review your Will regularly

Marriage, divorce, children, changes to your finances – all these events have the potential to impact your estate planning. Reviewing your Will when a major life change occurs can help ensure your assets continue to be distributed to the persons you want.

Step 5: Tell someone where your Will is

Don’t risk having your Will lost in the bottom drawer of your desk; make sure someone knows where it is kept.

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Getting estate planning assistance

Telstra Super Financial Planning (TSFP) has an arrangement with estate planning specialists,  Perpetual Trustee Company Limited (Perpetual Trustee), for its clients to obtain estate planning advice. Your TSFP Adviser can arrange a referral to Perpetual Trustee. Telstra Super Financial Planning provides this as a service to clients and does not receive any benefits from  Perpetual Trustee for making such referrals.

To discuss your advice needs, please call Telstra Super Financial Planning or request an appointment online.

1 Source: http://www.tag.nsw.gov.au/wills-faqs.html

 

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