Estate planning documents do not necessarily expire,
but some of your circumstances may change.
It is vital to keep these documents up to date
according to your circumstances.
And even more important not to die intestate or without a will.
Why is it Important not to die Intestate?
When a person passes on without a Will, they forfeit the privilege of deciding what should happen to their estate. The estate gets allocated in terms of pre-determined guidelines, known as Intestate Succession. In other words, that person has no say in how the estate should be apportioned, and your assets may be distributed differently from what you would have stipulated.
This will make things much more difficult for your family, and will involve a lengthy process to wind up the estate, potentially creating animosity, heartache and confusion for your family during this difficult time.
What to do when drawing up your Will
- Make a detailed list of your assets
- Decide on an executor (Please see the article 3 mistakes to avoid when choosing an executor)
- Decide on your heirs
- Decide on the distribution of your assets
- Contact a professional who can assist you in the proper drawing up of your Will.
Each person’s situation is unique and it is best to tailor a Will to suit the individual. That is why we recommend you approach a specialist in the field of deceased estates to draw up your Will. Doing it yourself, you can inadvertently create problems without even knowing it, by the wording used in the Will
Why update your will regularly?
Our circumstances change and so should your will. While it won’t expire similar to a “Best before” label on a product, there are certain things that may need updating and it is important to ask the following questions on a regular basis and update your will.
Has your marital status changed?
Have you married, remarried or divorced? Please note that on a divorce, the law allows you 3 months in which to change your Will. In the 3 month grace period, your ex-spouse is presumed to have died before you and they will not inherit. If you don’t change your Will after the 3 month period and you leave your ex-spouse as a beneficiary, they will inherit if anything happens to you. If you are remarrying, it is especially important to make sure you understand the differences and consequences of marrying in or out of community of property.
Have any of your beneficiaries changed?
Do you have a new grandchild/grandchildren? Perhaps you have changed your mind about who should inherit. Or some of your beneficiaries may have passed away and need to be removed.
Has your financial situation changed?
Your financial situation may have changed and this could influence who your beneficiaries are, particularly if you have left cash bequest/legacies. You may find that there is not enough cash to meet these, or you don’t want to prejudice your main beneficiary by leaving extra cash to other beneficiaries.
Have your personal details changed?
You may need to update personal information, such as contact details if you have moved, and include instructions about digital assets, such as online accounts, email accounts, social media, financial details, passwords, PIN numbers.
How to Update Your Will
Proactive Wills and Estates offer YEI members a FREE Will service so don’t hesitate to get your Will drawn up or updated.
Don’t delay! Contact them for an appointment today!
Please complete the following form and someone from Pro-active Wills and Estates will get back to you as soon as they can.
For advice on how to Choose an executor, please click here
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