• Anna Bryson

New Year, New Start, Write Your Will

We all have the same attitude in January where we would like to be productive, get our affairs in order and achieve some of our new years’ goals. So why not tackle your will and estate planning?

Whether you already have a will and simply need to update it to reflect your current circumstances, or you are starting from scratch – it’s important to be prepared and have a will in place as you never know what may happen. Vizzone Ruggero Twigg Lawyers Partners, Lisa Ruggero Salerno and Daniella Ruggero, share their insights on when you may need to draft a will and why it’s important.

A death in the family can not only cause significant distress and upset, but more and more often can also cause significant conflict. Unfortunately, this conflict arises when there is no clear direction surrounding how the deceased wished their assets and personal belongings to be dealt with and distributed amongst their family and friends.

We have seen this conflict cause further anxiety and grief at an already highly emotive and stressful time, and unfortunately it can have lasting effects on friendships and family relationships. We therefore strongly encourage everyone to take the time to prepare a will and the relevant estate planning documents to alleviate as much stress as possible in the event of their death, and to ensure their wishes are met.

It is widely conceived that only the elderly and wealthy should have a will, however, we consider this to be a misconception and we encourage everyone, no matter your age or the size of your nest egg, to prepare a will. A will is a means of controlling how you wish your life’s earnings to be dealt with and a means of telling your friends and family your final wishes. In the event you die without having entered into a will, your estate will be dealt with intestate and administered by the NSW Trustee and Guardian.

If you prepared a will some time ago, it’s important that you update it and ensure it reflects your current wishes and circumstances. We recommend updating your will when:

  1. You get married or enter a de facto relationship;

  2. You have children or grandchildren;

  3. You get divorced or separated;

  4. Upon the death of another family member; or

  5. There is a change in your financial circumstances, for example buying or selling property; starting or closing a business, or receiving an inheritance.

It’s incredibly important to have your will reviewed by an expert in the field to ensure that your will is in accordance with both your wishes and the law, is in safe hands and that it will be handed over to your loved ones once you are gone.

Before you see a practitioner, there are some things you will need to think about, including the following:

  • Who you wish to administer your estate;

  • Who you wish to receive your estate;

  • If you have children, how old should they be before they receive their inheritance and who should look after it in the meantime; and

  • If you have any specific items you would like to gift.

In terms of documents you should bring, it’s worth gathering (if applicable):

  • Documentation for a will you have previously drafted; and

  • Details about registered companies, businesses and trusts.

Vizzone Ruggero Twigg Lawyers is a leading firm when it comes to Wills, Estates and Estate Planning. Make an appointment to meet with Anna Bryson to discuss your will today by emailing law@vrtlawyers.com.au or calling (02) 9667 1271.

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