Update your Will

Update your Will

As you will know from past S&W Insights, we often recommend that you update your Will. This needs to be done on a regular basis as your circumstances change.

Bill Stanley’s mother-in-law died recently at 93 years of age, after 3 years in a nursing home with dementia. Fortunately the family had taken our advice, and her Will had been updated prior to her losing her competency to do so. This event has again focused our minds on the need to update Wills when circumstances change.

There are plenty of events that should lead you to think of the potential effect on your estate plans. These include things like ill health, divorce, marriage, de facto relationships and birth of children or grandchildren.

In our experience in this area the common issues which are overlooked in preparation of, or planning of, Wills are:

  1. Assets held in Family Discretionary Trusts do not form a part of your Estate so you are unable to will them to others. Care is required regarding the power of appointment and removal of trustees of the Trust so as to effect your wishes.
  2. Who is to become the director of the companies in which your Estate will hold an interest.
  3. Family Businesses need careful thought as to their continuing future and control.
  4. Superannuation proceeds require Binding Death Benefits nominations. Care is needed as to what the tax consequences are so you can avoid or minimize tax on death.
  5. The need for testamentary trusts to protect your intended beneficiaries against personal or business risk and to minimise tax in the hands of minors.
  6. Recognition that specific bequests of particular assets, subject in due course on eventual sale, to Capital Gains Tax in the beneficiaries hands, can mean that your apportionment of assets between beneficiaries does not end up as you intended.
  7. Enduring powers of attorney to cover financial matters, power of guardianship regarding lifestyle and health and wishes regarding donation of organs and funeral arrangements.

There are many twists and turns in Wills and Estate Planning, so the above are only examples to raise your awareness, not an exhaustive list.

Do not put this off, contact us promptly if you think your existing Will needs to be updated, so we can assist in clarifying matters with your solicitor.

*Correct as of April 2015

*Disclaimer – this article has been produced by Kreston Stanley Williamson as a service to its clients and associates. The information contained in the article is of general comment only and is not intended to be advice on any particular matter. Before acting on any areas contained in this article, it is imperative you seek specific advice relating to your particular circumstances. Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

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