A will is simple to set up and can provide you with peace of mind. Wills aren’t just documents for you to decide what happens to your possessions but can also be used to appoint a guardian for your children and ensure that the right person is in charge of their welfare.
Contrary to popular belief, they don’t need to be filled with legal jargon and can be written in plain English so that it’s easy for everyone to understand. Furthermore, if a will is not in place, the State will decide what happens with your assets, which may not work out the way you would have wanted. Being prepared and creating a will lets you take control of your own assets and ensure that things are kept simple for your family.
If you already have a will in place, it’s a great start but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t review or re-evaluate it regularly. Check when you last drafted your will. Was it more than five years ago? What about the new car you recently bought? What about the jewellery you got for your birthday? What about your two year old child or grandchild? Wills cannot expire as such, but the content can be out of date. It’s worth updating your will every five years or when there are any major changes in your life, so that everything is covered.
Power of Attorney
This document is important as it ensures that you have nominated a trusted person or people with the authority to take action or make decisions on your behalf if there ever comes a time when you are not capable of doing those things yourself. This can cover your financial affairs as well as your health and welfare.
You can run into some serious problems if you have lost capacity and don’t have a Power of Attorney nominated. In these cases, your family may need to get involved in a lengthy and expensive court process to appoint a guardian to manage your affairs, who is then under the formal regulation of the Office of the Public Guardian.
It doesn’t matter how old you are or if you currently in good health. Essentially, age or circumstance should not matter when it comes to sorting out a Power of Attorney. It’s important to be prepared for the unexpected.
Properly set-up Trusts are invaluable, as they can protect your assets and minimise tax.
Trusts can be created and set up during your lifetime or can form part of your Will, depending on what you are trying to protect. There are many different examples to suit varying circumstances. For example, a Trust could allow you to pass assets onto beneficiaries, who may not be of age. The assets would be managed by a trustee who will follow rules, created by you to ensure that your beneficiary receives access once they are ready.
With these three points in mind, it is worthwhile to seek excellent legal, tax and investment advice. Tick another thing off of your to-do list and make an appointment with us to talk through your options.