Everyone needs a will. It is one of the most important documents you will ever sign and goes a long way toward avoiding family conflict surrounding your estate. A will can save your loved ones a great deal of distress.
A clearly written Will allows you to take control and publicly declare your values and wishes by:
- Choosing who will receive your assets and belongings after you die
- Choosing who will be responsible for your estate (your executor)
- Deciding who will be appointed guardian of your children until they reach the age of 18.
- Excluding a person who may otherwise inherit from your estate, in the event you do not have a Will.
At Tim Clarke & Co Lawyers we have the experience to prepare a clearly written Will, considering issues such as any possible inheritance claims, or other possible challenges to your Will We will give you frank advice about your circumstances and draft a will that, as much as possible, reflects your wishes while reducing the risk of litigating in relation to your estate
We understand people may find themselves in situations where a Will is required immediately. In those circumstance, we can quickly accommodate you and treat your matter as a high priority.
Our lawyers can visit anyone with mobility issues in the comfort of their own home, or attend a hospital or alternative convenient locations.
You may already have a will, but it should be reviewed regularly. There are many reasons for changing your will, for example:
- You begin a new career or start a new business
- You marry or enter into a de facto relationship
- You buy a house
- Your assets increase substantially
- You dispose of assets mentioned in your will
- You have children
- Your children reach adulthood
- You have grandchildren
- You divorce or separate
- You retire
- A beneficiary or executor dies
Your will needs to be kept in a safe place. At Tim Clarke and Co Lawyers, we will store your Will and any other Estate Planning documents in our secure, fire proof safe free of charge. Please feel free to discuss this at your appointment.
When making a Will, give some thought to the following:
Who will be your Executors?
Your Executors have the legal and administrative task of sorting out your assets and debts after you die and making sure that your wishes, as outlined in your Will, are upheld.
Who will be your beneficiaries and what effect will their inheritance have on their circumstances?
Beneficiaries are individuals or legal entities that receive a gift or inheritance in a will.
You can distribute your assets in any way you like. However, you must carefully consider whether you provide for your family and dependents, as they may be able to contest your Will. The last thing most people want is their hard-earned assets being wasted on litigation fees.
You should also consider the effects that an inheritance may have on your beneficiaries. In some cases, a testamentary trust can provide a tax effective solution, so it’s important that you get specific advice about your individual circumstances.
How often should I review my Will?
You should certainly review your Will after any major events, such as marriage, divorce, property purchase or sale, death of a beneficiary or if your assets change significantly. We also recommend that you take a look at your Will every couple of years just to make sure that it still provides the best solution for you and for your family.
A Will is only legally enforceable after your death. While you are alive your will does not have any legal force and effect.
We recommend preparing a Power of Attorney and an Advance Care Directive to operate during your lifetime. By making both an enduring power of attorney, which covers legal and financial affairs, and an Advance Care Directive, for medical and lifestyle decisions, you are effectively making a ‘living will’, to ensure that your wishes are known should you be unable to make decisions for yourself.
Power of Attorney
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a separate legal document that authorises another person to act on your behalf during your lifetime, particularly if you lose legal capacity to make decisions for yourself. You can choose someone that you trust to ‘stand in your shoes’ to make financial and legal decisions for you, rather than someone the government may appoint to make those decisions on your behalf.
You cannot make a power of attorney after you lose legal capacity, so it is important to make an enduring power of attorney before this happens so that your financial affairs will be managed by someone you know and trust.
Advance Care Directive
You may wish to prepare an Advance Care Directive. This is a legal document conveying your wishes about your medical care ahead of time. It is a way for you to communicate your wishes to doctors, family and friends in order to avoid confusion if lose capacity or cannot communicate your wishes. The document is important for two reasons. First, to nominate a trusted person to be your substitute decision maker to make those decisions, and second to outline your wishes in relation to various medical treatments you would prefer or to indicate those treatments that you would like to refuse.
Please feel free to contact us on (08) 8277 8355 or click here to email our office to arrange a time to discuss your particular situation and your family’s needs with an experienced Estate Planning lawyer.