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21 Jul 2021 · Wills & Estates

How to plan a will

1. Identify your physical and non-physical assets

List your physical assets for example your home, any holiday house, Investment house, household contents for example furniture, antiques, jewellery, cloths, artwork and any other items of value.

List your non-physical assets for example, bank accounts, shares, stocks, Superannuation, life insurance, bonds, unit trusts, your business asset and any other financial asset for example a loan made to a third party.

2. Identify your physical and non-physical debts

List any money you owe for example, your home mortgage or any other property mortgages, hire purchase agreements, credit card debts, lease agreements or any other financial debt.

List all monies owed to you for example the name and address of any loans made to another party together with the loan agreement including the date.

3. Choose your executor and alternate executors

You should consider choosing a trusted family member together with a professional like a solicitor or an accountant. You will need to seek the approval of those people to accept the appointment as executor. It is wise to nominate an alternate executor in the event that your first choice/choices may not be available at the required time.

4. Choose your beneficiaries

Husbands, wives, children, brothers, sisters, other family members, close friends and in some cases, charities.

While this may seem straight forward, there are many things to consider for example, you may have children under the age of 18 years. It is wise to consider a testamentary trust to mature when they attain a pre-determined age. You may also need to consider appointing a guardian.

One of your beneficiaries may not necessarily be competent to manage money, you could consider providing for them by way of investment income from a nominated asset.

Should you have relationship issues with any family member or perhaps a career that you do not wish to leave anything, it is wise to acknowledge them in your Will, state your relationship issue and leave them a token item. This will show the Court that you had considered them and made a conscious decision.

5. Legal advice

Consult a legal professional who is equipped to guide you through this process. In the long term you will find it will be money well spent.

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