Do you need to review your Will?
A will is an important legal document that contains your wishes on how you want your property to be dealt with after you die. You should review your will as your life changes and if any of the following apply to you.
You have married or entered into a civil union since your last Will
When you get married or enter into a civil union your existing will is automatically cancelled unless it contains a special clause known as a “contemplation of marriage” clause. This applies even if your spouse is named as beneficiary of your existing will. If you do not make a new will and you die, then your estate (i.e. property) will be distributed as if you did not have a will (i.e. you died intestate).
You have had Children or Grandchildren since your last Will
You should review your will if you have had children or grandchildren since your last will. Your will may not provide for your children or grandchildren or it may only provide for some of your children or grandchildren depending on how it has been worded.
You will also need to consider appointing a legal guardian (or guardians) for your child or children if they are under 18 years old. The guardian’s role is to take over some of the responsibilities for your children, such as care and education. It does not mean that your child has to live with the guardian and the guardian may have to apply to the Court for a parenting order if they want day-to-day care of the child. While there is no legal requirement to name a guardian in your will we strongly recommend that you do if you have a child or children under 18 years old. This is especially important should both parents die together or if you are your children’s sole guardian.
You have separated since your last Will
If you have separated from your spouse but not formally divorced then you ex may still receive part of your estate under your Will. It is important to update your will as soon as possible.
You have divorced since your last Will
If you have divorced your will is still valid and but any provisions you made for your ex will cancelled unless you make it very clear in your will that you want to make provision for your ex. A divorce usually signifies a major change to a person’s life and as such we recommend that they review their will.
You set up a family trust since your last Will
Assets which have been transferred to a family trust no longer form part of your estate. You can appoint a replacement trustee of family trust in your Will. You should ensure that you have a memorandum of wishes that the directs the trustees on how you want the trust managed after your death.
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