Getting Your Will In Order - The Viewpoint of Glenn Duker

| Monday, March 28, 2011
By Glenn Duker

Indeed most people understand the need for a Will or, if one is in existence, updating it periodically. Merely out of good organisation, we should all have a last will and testament. If you are parents, a defacto partner or even a business proprietor, the relevance of an up to date Will will likely prevent your surviving loved ones further anguish. Far too often people delay getting a Will in place. In this brief article, I will set out the need for a Will, the need to periodically update your Will and basically how the Will is managed after your passing away.

My name is Glenn Duker. I am a solicitor who has drafted many wills for various individuals over the years.

Why should you put a Will in place? A Will represents the means by which you nominate how your assets following your passing are to be distributed. It is not uncommon to endeavour to exclude certain people from benefiting also. Not having a Will in place may result in your remaining assets being distributed to those whom you did not intend to benefit from your estate. Do It Yourself Will kits are not the best approach in my opinion. It is best not to risk a claim against your estate. Your Will is a valuable and important thing and is the way in which you direct the distribution of your assets. Considered legal advice is best way to go.

If you have a pre-existing Will, when should it be updated? Most certainly, if your personal situation changes, which might include a new marriage, a divorce, the birth of children, retirement, ceasing a defacto relationship or entering into one. These are major legal milestones in relation to your Will which trigger circumstances whereby you want your current wishes accurately documented. You may just desire to include or remove certain individual benefits or charities from time to time.

The will is administered by a an Executor (or Executrix, if a female). The Executor's initial role is to apply for the Grant of Probate, which is a document sealed by the Court authorising the distribution of assets according to the Will. The assets are then so distributed and the Executor's role comes to an end. This is to be distinguished from the role of a trustee who administers any assets held on trust by the estate, typically for children. Clauses in Wills relating to trustee powers are usually very broad, permitting maximum flexibility.

Dying intestate is not always problematic but it can be. You will have lost the opportunity to cater for those who have survived you. The peace of mind created through a valid, properly executed and well thought through Will and knowing that your affairs have been left "tidy" is worth it in itself. Please note that the content of this article is general only and always seek the advice of a lawyer in relation to your Will.

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