Thursday, 5 February 2015

How to... 8 Tips on How to Write a Will (Sp)

Meet me. Reigning Queen of Procrastination. Ruler of putting boring things off. Chief Executive Delayer. 

I am organised at work, getting organised at home (hello school notes!), and this year, 2015, is the  year of Lexi getting everything else in line. Tax. Super. Holidays. And a Will. 

Sounds pretty exciting, right? I know. Sigh. Not exciting. But things that need to be checked off. And the chief reason I delay most of these tasks? I feel intimidated by them.

So today I am sharing eight tips on how to write a will, so we can cross that one off the list ASAP!

But first - why do you even need a Will? A Will will (ha, see what I did there) ensure that your assets are distributed the way you want when you die - and saves a lot of ugly family arguments in the aftermath. Because you won't be there - your will will be the document that conveys your wishes. 

It's important - if you don't have a Will, the courts will potentially decide who and where your assets are going. Plus your money and assets could go to bills and taxes, instead of your loved ones. 

This is something I have been putting off because it feels a bit morbid talking about it, and I haven't wanted to think about it, but heck. Let's do this.

1. When should I write a Will? As early as possible - life hands us turns and twists, so it's good to have something written down - which can always be updated later on.

2. Write a list: Start by writing down a list - or a few lists including:
- Any assets you have
- Gifts you want to give
- People you want to include
- Any charities you would like to include
- Who you'd like to be the executor of your estate

You might add to this list later on - so take your time, and discuss it with your partner or spouse. 

3. Which assets? Here's my big problem. I don't really have any exciting assets unless you count my vintage teacup collection - however I don't think anyone else feels the same way I do about it. But when you're thinking about your Will you should definitely include:
- Physical assets such as houses, property, jewellery, teacup collections
- Financial assets e.g. savings, shares etc
- Heirlooms or sentimental pieces - again with the vintage teacup collection

4. Be picky about your executor: Choose someone with the least to inherit, someone who can be the most objective. The executor should be someone who is going to outlive you, someone younger. 

5. Chat with your family: Find out who wants what. Who really loves my vintage teacup collection? Who loves my vintage hat collection? Er, no one? Surely some people feel an affinity with some things, so it's good to find out what they love - lack of discussion can spark feuding. Ugly. 

6. Be specific: Name people, but include date of birth, relationship to you, and address - add as much detail into your Will as possible to avoid any doubt/discrepancies. 

7. Regularly Update: You should keep your Will updated - definitely if you have a new child, get divorced, retired etc - you want it current and relevant.

8. Harness an expert: Seek legal advice to ensure your Will is solid and complies with state and territory legislation. They'll also be able to provide tips, or remind you of things you haven't included.  Avoid free Wills because they may not be compliant and your Will may be rendered invalid - and your wishes may not be carried out. It could mean it takes longer for your loved ones to be given what you wished, and legal costs will be taken out of the assets. Plus sometimes "free" wills come with hidden clauses charging fees and taking a percentage as payment for executing your will. 

This post is sponsored by Firths - The Compensation Lawyers


Christina Lowry said...

Nodding nodding, yes yes yes. My husband does NOT like to talk about these things. Thinks it is bad ju ju or something. Need to get the ball rolling and just spring it on him and get it done. Will be a weight off. Sorting Super is also on my boring list... :P

Steph Bond-Hutkin said...

Such a good post Lexi. We got the Super done, Tax is on my list for this week, but the poor old Will is bottom of the list. Did you have include info about who will look after kids?

Kelly Tall said...

When my Dad passed away he didn't have a will, and I was REALLY lucky that his estate was really simple (just cash, no property or investments etc). If it was more complex it can take years to sort out, and actually has to be decided by the high court - so all of what is left behind can be eaten up by the legal system. And you know what - even though I went through all of that, we still don't have our wills sorted.

Diana @The Third Row said...

A will is on my to-do list too! I'll be using this as a starting point. Thank you. I don't even have a collection of hats to bequeath though - just one that I bought at Tarabuco in Bolivia which is very similar to this: I think I want to be buried in it. I'll put that in the will too.