6 Reasons to Review your Will in 2023

Your Will provides instructions on how you would like to have your estate distributed after your death. A will not only communicates your final wishes but allows you to provide for your loved ones in the event of your death.

When you create a will, it is not a matter of ‘set-and-forget’. Since your family’s financial and personal situation are likely to change, these changes may impact your Will.

Ideally, you should update your Will every 3-5 years to reflect your current situation, but if you’ve already missed the 5-year mark, don’t put it off any longer. We’ve outlined five reasons you should review your Will this year in 2023.

#1 Marriage, Relationships & Separation

Many people do not realise that their previous Will is no longer valid when a testator (the will-maker) marries. If you are recently married and haven’t updated your Will, you must do so to ensure your final wishes are honoured.

If a will is invalid, your estate will be distributed according to intestacy rules.

Similarly, any change in your relationship, whether it is divorce or entering into a new relationship, is a reason to update your Will and ensure those you care about are taken care of.

#2 Children and Dependants

Providing for children and other dependants is a primary goal for most testators. Updating your Will upon the birth of a child is highly recommended, so they are included, and you can name an appropriate guardian.

When you review your Will, you should ensure the original guardian is still the most appropriate person to take care of your children if something should happen to you.

Often grandparents are named guardians. If a will is not updated regularly, there is a risk that those grandparents may have since passed or are no longer capable of looking after a child/children.

One must also look at this time to see if the Executor or Trustee or backups appointed in holding the estate on trust for a minor is also the right person.

In an age where families come in all shapes and sizes, it is essential to update your Will to reflect your current family situation. Blended families can include children from previous marriages or adopted children, and updating a Will to provide for all your dependents, not just biological children, is a good idea.

Another reason to update your Will occurs when your children reach the age of majority (18 years in New South Wales). When your children reach this age, you may like to review how your estate is distributed or name them as executors of your estate.

#3 A Named Individual Has Passes

Sadly there are instances where people outlive those they’d hoped to give assets to in their Will. Should anyone named in your Will pass away (Executor or beneficiary), you need to update assets and responsibilities to another individual.

#4 Changing Assets

Changing assets, such as selling/buying property or starting a business and selling a business, can significantly change the value of your estate. These changes call for a review of your Will to accurately reflect your current financial situation and structures.

#5 Tax Law

It may seem odd to update your Will on account of tax laws, but these laws can impact the distribution of your estate.

Tax laws are constantly changing, and a regular review of your Will can ensure your estate is distributed in a certain way to minimise any tax and maximise provision for your beneficiaries.

#6 Location

In Australia, each state has specific legislation regarding Wills and the distribution of a deceased estate. If you have moved interstate, you should review your Will to align with the rules and procedures of the jurisdiction you live.

In the same way, laws surrounding Wills and succession will be different if you live overseas, so you should update your Will to reflect this.

How can you update your Will?

Updating and reviewing your Will isn’t hard, but you will need to ensure it is updated correctly to carry your final wishes out. At Taylor & Scott Lawyers, our experienced Estate Lawyers can revise and review your Will to reflect your current situation.

With the assistance of a professional, you can help protect your Will from conjecture and ensure your intentions are understood.

Arrange a meeting

Arrange a meeting with a Taylor & Scott Estate Lawyer today, and we can help you review and update your Will as soon as possible.

It is helpful to gather and consider the following information and questions before you review or create a will:

  • Birth or adoption of children and grandchildren
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Death of someone named in your Will
  • What is your current living situation?
  • Current relationships?
  • Have any of your children reached the age of majority?
  • Who would you like to appoint as Executor (s)?
  • Is your current Executor still capable/suitable?
  • Who would you like to select as guardian(s)?
  • Is your present guardian still capable/suitable?
  • Charitable organisations you wish to give your estate to
  • A list of current assets and liabilities
  • Any business interests
  • Details of your superannuation
  • Insurance policies

For legal advice, you can count on, contact us on 1800 600 664 or email us at info@tayscott.com.au

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