Everyone should consider writing a Will, even more so if you have any assets or children under the age of 18. Many people aren’t quite sure what’s involved in a Will or why they should have one. Your Will not only states who inherits your assets, but also who looks after your children and your estate. Below are common issues covered in most Wills.
Who gets what?
Your Will should clearly set out all assets and items that you want to go to certain people, and who these people are. You may have a certain painting or ornament that you want to go to your best friend, but unless stated in your Will, it will go to your closest relative. You should consider who you wish to receive your assets and consider any liabilities or debts that may be attached to each asset, for example, the mortgage on a house. This part of a Will is particularly important for people in a de facto relationship, a relationship where step-children are involved and if you are separated but still married. In these cases, your belongings may not end up where you want them. For example, if you are still legally married to someone but you are separated; your spouse has the right to a lot of your assets even though you aren’t seeing each other anymore.
What happens to the children?
If you have children under the age of 18 a Will is a must. In your Will you can determine who will be the guardians of your children. If you don’t have a Will, your children will not only be grieving, but will also be suffering through the uncertainty of their future, where they will live, who will look after them etc. The person you elect to be the guardian of your children, will also be the person who looks after any money that you have left to your children, so you want to make sure you make the right choice and don’t just leave it up to your family to sort out later.
In your Will, you should appoint one or more executors to organise your funeral and to administer your estate. This person has to sort out what you own and what you owe, closing accounts paying off debts and distributing what’s left as you have set out in your Will. When choosing an executor it is good to keep in mind that this person may also be looking after any assets that you leave to any children under the age of 18. The executor can be empowered to look after your assets until your children become adults or reach a certain age specified by you in your Will.
Your Will also sets out any wishes you have in regards to your funeral, and other things. For example, the care of your pets – will the pets go with the children to their new home, will a close relative or friend look after them or will they go up for adoption. This section basically covers the smaller things that aren’t covered in other parts of the Will, but are important to you.
As you can see, writing a Will can be a little overwhelming. If you need help writing a Will or organising your estate, please call The Quinn Group on 1300 QUINNS (1300 784 667) or fill out an online enquiry form.