There’s more to a Will than just being a document that outlines how your assets will be distributed. Not only does it provide clarity and peace of mind for your loved ones, but it also gets rid of the stress, confusion and potential disagreements that can arise after you have passed away.
Your Will is your voice after you’re gone, which makes it one of the most important documents you will ever write. Yet surprisingly, 53% of us don’t have a valid one in place.
This may be due to the belief that creating a Will is a time-consuming, costly, and complex process, and so many of us put off writing one until it’s too late. While that may be the case for those with complicated circumstances, an online Will is a great way to make a simple, legally valid Will by yourself, while saving time, money, and effort.
If you are considering an online Will, read on to explore some expert tips to help make the process easier and to ensure you have taken all the necessary considerations into account.
The best way to start is to list out all your assets. Make sure you include any savings, property, and investments you might own and take note of their value.
Using lists can help you build a complete picture of what you own and will ensure all your assets will go where you want them to. Be sure to consider whether you want to leave specific gifts or money to people or organizations such as charities.
Keep in mind, anything that isn’t mentioned in your Will becomes a part of your residuary estate, the parts that are left over, and this will be given to any beneficiaries named in the residuary clause of your Will.
When it comes to naming the recipients of your assets in your Will, it is important to be specific about the individual, groups, or organisations.
Remember to use their full legal names, provide detailed descriptions of the assets you would like to leave them, and include correct details in your Will to eliminate any potential uncertainty.
When it comes to gifting, be specific when naming both the gift and the recipient, using the full title of the gift (for example, if the gift is a house, be sure to list the full address) and the full name of the person who is receiving the gift.
You don’t need to worry about naming a beneficiary for your life insurance since your provider will have already asked for this during the set-up of your policy.
Finally, think about nominating a beneficiary for any residuary estate you may have, to ensure anything that may have been accidentally left out of the Will is given to a recipient of your choice.
There are a number of considerations to be had when choosing an executor of your Will. Your executor must be over 18 years of age and will be responsible for carrying out the wishes you outline in your Will for the distribution of your estate.
It’s important to appoint one or more executors, especially if the workload is heavy and as a precaution in case your first choice is unavailable when the time comes.
An executor can be a family member, friend, lawyer, or trustee company like State Trustees, who manage the provisions of your Will. In a nutshell, an executor ensures your debts are paid, all assets are accounted for, and the beneficiaries receive their inheritance.
Remember to use the full legal names of your chosen executor/s and inform them of their appointment.
If you have a furry friend, it’s worth noting that the law recognises your pets as property.
To ensure your pet is cared for after you’re gone, consider a caregiver to name in your Will along with a gift of money to cover their expenses. Keep in mind that this nomination is not legally binding, however, it helps ensure that your wishes for your pet are known.
It’s also a good idea to prepare a separate document outlining your pet’s care instructions and your wishes.
After preparing your Will online, it’s absolutely crucial to complete the last steps correctly to ensure your Will is valid and legal.
Firstly, print and sign your Will in the presence of two witnesses who aren’t beneficiaries. It’s important to note that your witnesses need to be over 18 years of age and will be required to provide their signatures as well.
Secondly, be sure to store your Will in a secure location and let a beneficiary or executor know where to find it. Victorians can access The Victorian Will and Powers of Attorney Registry, which is a free service that allows you to register information about where you keep Will and power of attorney documents.
If you are unsure of what your options are or need more guidance, speak to an organisation like State Trustees, which can assist you in protecting your legacy and financial wellbeing.
With over 80 years of experience, the team of professionals can help guide you in producing a clear and legally valid Will designed for simple circumstances.
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial or legal situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product or legal advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial or legal decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services or legal advice.