Making a Will
Once you have set out your Estate Planning strategy a crucial element in carrying it into effect will be to make your Will. Your Will disposes of your personal assets (ie. assets owned by you). By making a Will you are exercising your legal right to direct how your assets should be distributed. Only by having a valid Will can you be certain this will happen. When you make your own Will you also choose the executors who will be responsible for looking after an distributing your assets after you die. By choosing your executors carefully you can ensure that those responsible for distributing your assets understand your particular needs and wishes and those of your family.
There are Laws as to how assets are to be distributed when there is no Will. This situation could result in financial hardship for your family. Is that what you want?
Who May Make a Will
Any person over the age of 18 can make a Will. A person under the age of 18 who is, or has been married, may make a Will. A person under the age of 18 who proposes to marry may make a Will in contemplation of the marriage, but the Will is not effective unless the marriage takes place. You can alter or make a new Will at any time. A Will made prior to marriage is not effective after the marriage, unless made in contemplation of the marriage.
Because your Will is not affected by a separation you should consider whether you want to change it at that stage. If you divorce, your former spouse will not take any benefit under your Will unless it is clear that you do wish him or her to benefit. However, if you re-marry your whole Will is automatically revoked.
Clelands can advise you on the simplest and most effective way to achieve your aims if you separate or you divorce.
Beware of the "home-made" Will
The "do-it-yourself" Will more often than not can be worse than no Will at all and may result in heartache and expense for those you leave behind. There are certain legal "musts" which have to be followed when making a Will and many "home-made" Will fail because these are often not observed. Further, Clelands are experienced in using and understanding the words necessary to accurately express your intentions. If you prepare your own Will and a mistake is made then the Will may have to be interpreted by the Court, the costs of which is normally paid out of your estate. The Court could decide that someone other than the person you intend should receive or share the benefit of your assets.
Preparation of your Will
When you consult Clelands about making your Will we will discuss with you such matters as:
- Who to appoint as your executors and trustees;
- Who to appoint as guardians of your infant children;
- What assets you can dispose of by your Will;
- What liabilities you need to provide for by your Will;
- Who you wish to benefit from your Will;
- Whether your wishes can be challenged;
- The powers and directions you should give to your trustees;
- Where to keep your Will;
- What other documents or actions are required to give effect to your Estate Planning strategy.
Clelands understand the intricacies of Will making and can give you unbiased and objective opinions as to the manner in which you should dispose of your assets. Clelands will advise you on the best way to arrange your affairs and make sure that your Will is properly drawn, signed and witnessed.
Who should be my Executor?
Clelands can advise you on an appropriate selection. You may appoint members of your family, friends or professional advisers. There is nothing to prevent a beneficiary being an executor.