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What do I need to make a Will, is one of the most common questions we get from clients ahead of their appointment with us.

So here is our guide to what documents you should gather and what questions you should ponder before you sit with us to make a new Will.

Of course, we can certainly take your instructions to prepare a new Will without you bringing anything with you, but depending on your circumstances, we may need some documents from you before we can start work on your Will.

By being prepared and bringing these documents to your first appointment with us, you will not only make the process faster, it will often result in your saving money.

Things to bring to your first appointment to make a Will

1. A list of your assets and liabilities and how they are owned. Your list would look something like this:-

a. Home at X Street Yville – in joint names with Fred $400,000 E

b. Bank account with Bank SA – my sole name

c. Superannuation with Hostplus

i. Current value $25,000

ii. Death benefit $128,000

d. Investment property at Z Street Wville – my sole name $200,000 E

e. Mortgage with ANZ on home in joint names with Fred – $21,000 E

f. Personal loan with A Bank in sole name $11,000 E

You don’t need to list the value of all your assets and liabilities, but a list like the one above can be helpful particularly if you are intending on giving specific gifts in your Will, as it will help us help you get the balance of the distribution of your estate between your intended beneficiaries right.

2. The full names, dates of birth, addresses and phone numbers for each of you, your partner, each of your children and any other person that you may wish to appoint as an executor of your Will.

3. A copy of the latest super statement for any super fund in which you are a member.

4. A copy of any binding nomination that you have signed for your super fund.

5. A copy of any trust deed for any trust in which you are involved as a trustee, appointor or beneficiary.

6. A copy of the financial statements for the last financial year for any business in which you are involved as an owner.

Things to think about before you come to make a new Will

The sorts of questions that we will ask you when you come in will vary depending on your circumstances, but may include the following:

1. Who would you like to have as your executor? Common choices are:

a. your spouse or partner first and your adult children as the alternative if your spouse or partner is no longer living

b. your spouse or partner first and one or more of your siblings or parents if you do not have children or if your children are under 18

c. if you don’t have a spouse, then adult children if you have them or close friends

d. a professional such as your lawyer or accountant (and we would recommend that you only do this if you do not have any other reasonable options)

2. Do you have children under 18 years of age and if so, would you like to appoint a guardian for them in your Will? If you do, then who would you like to appoint?

3. Do you wish to make any specific gifts? Some examples could include:

a. leaving your diamond ring to your daughter

b. leaving your vintage car to your nephew

c. leaving $10,000 to your local charity

4. Who do you wish to leave the remainder of your estate to? (Known as your residuary estate). Common choices are:

a. Your spouse or partner first and if your spouse is no longer living then equally between your children

b. If you don’t have a spouse, then equally between your children or otherwise equally among a number of charities.

5. If you have left some of your estate to your children, what would you like to happen if one of your children died before you? The most common choice is to the children of your deceased child if they had any or otherwise back to your surviving children.

6. If you have children under the age of 18, where would you leave your residuary estate if you, your spouse and all of your children were to pass away? Suggested options are:

a. A half share to each of your parents and the parents of your partner;

b. Equally between nieces and nephews;

c. Equally between a number of charities.

7. If any beneficiary of your Will is a child, how old would you like that child to be before they inherited their share of your estate? The most common choice is 18 or 21.

8. If you have a superannuation fund, then consider the following questions:

a. have you signed a binding nomination in relation to the fund? If you have then please provide us with a copy;

b. if you haven’t signed a binding nomination, do you know if your super fund provides the option of having one? (If you don’t, you should find out.)

c. if you don’t have a binding nomination, do you know where the proceeds of your policy are paid if you passed away? (They are not always paid into your estate.)

What do I need to make a Will? Is that all? Sometimes it’s not that simple

Sometimes the issues that need considering before your Will is prepared, just aren’t as simple as asking the above questions.

If your circumstances are complicated and you need some legal advice as to what your options are before you can really think about it, then you are welcome to come in to discuss your Will without doing anything further.

However, if you can give some thought to our questions above, it will certainly put you on the right track and start you thinking about the types of issues that we will discuss with you when you come in.

Other things we will ask

When we meet with you we will ask you if you have left anybody out that would have a claim on your estate if you passed away.

This would generally include any child or spouse.

There are other people who may, in limited circumstances, make a claim on your estate as well, including:

  • parents
  • siblings
  • step children

If you have left someone out who might be able to make a claim, then we can talk to you about ways to avoid a potential claim.

Contact Mildwaters Lawyers in Kadina today, so we can help you take action to ensure peace of mind as soon as possible.

 

Image: 5981-dog-playing-with-ball by localpups www.localpuppybreeders.com via Flickr. CC BY SA

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