When it comes to making arrangements for what will happen after your own passing it can be time consuming, confusing and a subject that frankly, we would rather not consider. Organising a prepaid funeral and writing a will can seem a little morbid and feel a bit ‘ahead of its time’.
To make the process a little more straight forward, this month Lady Anne Funerals has taken the time to create a downloadable Retirement Planning Guide to offer support and direction on all things retirement.
To kickstart us on our journey to a well planned retirement, we have sought the advice of David Chambers, currently a lecturer at the College of Law in St Leonards. He spent a number of years working at the Public Trustee in Wills and Estates. After that he spent over 20 years as a sole practitioner. David specialises in Civil Litigation, Conveyancing, Wills and Estates and Criminal Law.
Below is his advice for writing a will so you can get organised and keep everything updated.
Few people willingly contemplate what will happen at the end of their lives. As a result, many people put off making a will again and again. What they need to realise, though, is that the absence of a good, valid will makes an already stressful and emotional time even harder for those left behind. By considering the below, you will be making the process of your passing much easier for your loved ones.
Nominating an executor.
The first thing you need to consider is who you intend to be your executor or executors. Your executor will look after your assets and ensure that they are used and transferred in accordance with the terms of your will. An executor can be a person or persons or a trustee company.
Being an executor is not an easy task. If you intend to make a friend or relative your executor, you need to consider whether he/she has the business knowledge to do the job. You also need to make sure he/she is prepared to take on the task.
Obviously you also need to give careful thought to how you want your assets to be distributed. The majority of people making wills leave their estate to immediate family without creating complicated ongoing provisions and conditions. If you want to have a will with more complicated provisions – like creating an investment trust for children – you really should consult a lawyer.
If you are preparing the will without using a lawyer (possibly using a will kit) remember that simple language and clear expression are by far the best way to go. In a simple will, the paragraphs you need to include are:-
- An opening paragraph starting with “this is the will of…” followed by your name and address.
- One revoking any prior wills you have made.
- One naming and appointing the executor.
- One setting out any specific gifts of assets or money and to whom those gifts will go.
- One which gives the rest of your estate (or the whole of your estate if there are no specific gifts) to your intended beneficiaries. As well as an optional line that includes prepaid funeral information, burial or cremation preferences.
Considering a will needs to adhere to strict legal requirements in order to be deemed valid, it is advisable to consult a legal professional.
Signing the will.
When you are ready to sign the will, you will need two witnesses to be with you. Those witnesses should not be persons mentioned in the will. You all need to sign at the end of the will and at the foot of each preceding page (if any), all using the same pen. The witnesses’ names and addresses should be inserted at the end of the will where they sign.
Lastly, once you have signed your will, give a photocopy of it to your executor and then store the original in a safe, secure place. Make sure you tell your executor and your next of kin where the original will is stored.
This month, Lady Anne Funerals will be offering a free Retirement Planning Guide that is downloadable on our website. The guide describes the steps that need to be considered in detail including deciding on prepaid funeral arrangements, wills, superannuation, financial planning and transitioning from work into retirement. If you wish to seek further assistance with prepaid funeral arrangements in order to take the pressure off of your loved ones in the future the ladies at Lady Anne Funerals would be happy to provide their kind and compassionate service. Get in contact with us to discuss how you can plan for the future.