Wills are important in ensuring how you would like things handled after you have passed on. A will spells out exactly what you want with assets, property and your last wishes.
- You decide who will take care of your minor children. No one knows your kids better than you. Without a will, the court will take it upon itself to choose among family members or a state-appointed guardian. Having a will allows you to appoint the person you want to raise your children or ensures that this duty is not given to someone you don’t want to raise your children.
- You decide how your estate will be distributed. If you die without a will, there is no guarantee that your intended desires will be carried out. Having a will may help to minimise any family disputes and tension about how your estate is distributed.
- To avoid a lengthy probate process. Contrary to common belief, all estates of a certain size must go through the probate process, with or without a will. Having a will, however, speeds up the probate process and informs the court how you’d like your estate divided.
- Minimise taxes. By having a will you can establish testamentary trusts which may have tax benefits for your beneficiaries.
- You decide who will wind up the affairs of your estate. Executors make sure all your affairs are in order, including paying off bills, canceling your credit cards, and notifying the bank and other business establishments of the death. Because executors play the biggest role in the administration of your estate, you’ll want to be sure to appoint someone who is honest, trustworthy, and organised (which may or may not always be a family member).
- Make gifts and donations. Gifts can allow your legacy to live on and reflect your personal values and interests.
Remember, you can change your mind – and your will – at any time while you’re still alive. Wills should be updated every time life circumstances change.
To get help with wills or probate, contact Alan Rigas Solicitors on (02) 9635 5333.