Meet Bill and Mary. Bill is a senior executive, Mary volunteers in their community. They have three kids, live in the suburbs, have a rental property and are saving for retirement.
But like 46% of adults in Australia, Bill and Mary do not have a will. They need one.
A will is a legal document that defines who is going to take care of your children and outlines what to do with your assets when you're gone. If you die without a will, others will decide who will inherit what you once owned. A will allows you, not others, to control your assets after your death.
If you're like Bill and Mary and need a will, here's what is involved.
When you do make a Will, do it right. Work with your trusted adviser to make sure your will is structured properly to be valid and enforceable. If your children are minors, name a guardian for your kids. Your trustee will follow the instructions in your will on how you want your assets to be provided to your children and their Guardian. Make a list of all your assets and where they are. Determine the values of your real estate, life insurance policy, investments, business ownership, personal possessions and anything else that has economic or sentimental value to you or your family.
You decide who will receive these assets, and when.
Typically you're surviving spouse will be your primary beneficiary. You provide instructions on how and when to distribute assets to children, grandchildren and the charities of your choice.
You appoint an executor to oversee and carry out your instructions in your will.
You can grant the power of attorney to someone you trust to make health care and financial decisions if you're not able to make these decisions for yourself. This “living will” provides a roadmap to your heirs and your doctors on how you wish your health care and end of life decisions to be managed.
There are so many reasons that a will is important. Work with your trusted advisor to get it right. Then update it every three years to make sure that it fits your present situation and conforms to current laws. That way you know your family, your loved ones and your assets are all protected.
The best time to start is right now.