A common misconception is that having a will and estate plan in place is only important for the older ones among us. In reality, estate planning is crucial regardless of your age or wealth. Especially people in their 30s and 40s with big changes in life e.g. getting married, having kids or buying property should consider estate planning seriously.
What is a will and what does it involve?
- A will is a legal document that includes your final wishes regarding your estate and care of your loved ones. Your estate is everything you own and any debts you owe when you die.
- It needs at least one executor to be appointed.
- The executor appointed by you will act on your behalf and will manage the process of settling your estate, helping with funeral arrangements, closing accounts and notifying beneficiaries of the will.
- The executor(s) will act in the interests of beneficiaries for a specific time stated in your will, for example a trust for your children or grandchildren.
- Beneficiaries will receive what they are entitled to from your estate after all debts and expenses have been paid.
- A will must be signed and witnessed. If correct procedures are not followed, a will may not be valid.
Why should I have a will in place?
If you die without a will, your family may face difficulty sorting out your wishes and what happens may not be what you would want or expect. This adds a heavy weight to the already painful grieving process. Without a will the law determines how your assets are divided and what happens to the people who depend on you.
Keeping a will up to date
If you start a new chapter in your life, such as getting married or expecting children or purchasing property, you should review your will. By law, the last will you signed will be the one used if you die. Keeping it up to date is crucial to ensure your wishes are followed.
Make sure to keep a copy of your will in a safe place and let your executor know where the will is kept.