Planning for the future can feel overwhelming, but having a will in place is an essential step in ensuring your assets are distributed according to your wishes. However, creating a will is not a one-and-done task. Life is constantly changing, and with it, your circumstances and priorities may also shift. That’s why it’s important to regularly review and update your will to reflect these changes.
Do you know when you should update your will? Is it every year, every five years or only when your circumstances change?
In this article, we’ll discuss how often you should update your will and provide some guidance on what to consider when doing so, so you can rest assured that your legacy is protected.
The Importance of Having a Will
A will is an important legal document that outlines your wishes for when you pass away. It’s a set of instructions that details who you want to inherit your estate, care for your children and serve as the executor of your estate.
Having a will is crucial for anyone who wants to ensure their assets are distributed according to their wishes. Without a will, your assets may be distributed according to the laws of intestacy, which could result in your assets going to people you didn’t intend or neglecting those you wanted to provide for.
By creating a will, you have the power to decide who gets your assets, how much they receive and when they receive it. You can also appoint an executor who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes and making sure that your assets are distributed fairly.
In addition to ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, having a will can also make the process of administering your estate much easier for your loved ones. When you outline your wishes in a clear and concise manner, you can minimise the chances of disputes and confusion arising among your beneficiaries.
Furthermore, having a will can help to speed up the probate process, which is the legal process of administering your estate. Without a will, the probate process in NSW can be more time-consuming, expensive and emotionally draining for your loved ones.
Deciding not to create a will also means that you will need to stay informed about any legal changes that could affect the distribution of your estate. Even if you’re comfortable with the way intestacy rules allocate your assets, not having a will can result in a prolonged waiting period for beneficiaries to receive their inheritance. This is because the court must first verify that no will exists before distributing assets according to the rules of intestacy. As a result, creating and regularly updating your will can help streamline the distribution of your estate and provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones.
How Often Do You Need to Update Your Will?
In NSW, it is suggested to review your will every three to five years. However, you should also update it whenever there are significant changes to your circumstances, such as:
- receiving an inheritance
- a change in marital status
- selling or buying a property
- starting or ending a business
- the birth or adoption of a child
- experiencing significant health issues
- a major change in your financial situation
- relocating overseas or undertaking long-term travel
By regularly reviewing and updating your will, you can ensure that your wishes are always accurately reflected and that your loved ones are protected. This can provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones, knowing that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes in the event of your passing.
Do You Need A Lawyer for Wills?
The short answer is that you don’t necessarily need a lawyer to create a will in Australia. In fact, you can create a will on your own using a will kit or online platform.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that creating a will that is valid and legally binding can be a complex process. This involves several formal requirements, including age, capacity, signing and witnessing, that are best done with the assistance of a legal professional or a wills and estate lawyer. They can provide valuable guidance and advice to ensure that your will is valid and enforceable.
Beyond the formalities, estate planning lawyers can ensure that your will addresses revocation and executor powers correctly. This guarantees that your estate is properly managed after your passing and reduces the risk of partial intestacy. They can also keep abreast of any emerging legal issues and draft your will in a way that minimises potential risks.
Ultimately, the decision to hire a lawyer when creating a will in Australia is a personal one. If you’re comfortable creating a will on your own and have a relatively simple estate, then you may not need a lawyer. However, if you’re unsure about the process or have a more complex estate, it may be beneficial to seek the guidance of a wills and estate lawyer.
How Madison Marcus Can Help You
At Madison Marcus, we understand that creating a will or updating it can be a complex and sensitive process. Our top family lawyers are well-versed in the intricacies of family law and have extensive experience in estate planning. We can help you navigate the legal requirements and draft a will that ensures your wishes are fully documented and your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
Our team of estate planning lawyers can assist you in all aspects of estate planning, from creating a will to setting up a trust or power of attorney. We strive to provide you with a personalised and supportive service, ensuring that you feel informed and empowered throughout the process.
By engaging our professional services, you can have peace of mind knowing that your will is valid and meets all legal requirements. We can also help you minimise any risk and ensure that your estate is fully and properly dealt with within your will.
For all enquiries, contact us here.