Often overlooked during a marriage and particularly when a divorce has been finalized, is drafting and keeping your Will current.
A Will is one of the most important documents a person can ever prepare. So it is alarming to consider how many people do not have one. Those that do have a Will, would be wise to review and update your estate plans no matter if you are just simply separated or absolutely divorced.
It’s important to note that a divorce does not automatically revoke an existing Will. A divorce will only revoke those parts of a Will that deal with your ex-spouse. All other facets of the Will continue to be in force.
Why does everyone need a Will? There are several answers to this question, but here are a few important reasons to consider:
Control of Your Estate
A Will, which only comes into force upon your death, is a legal document wherein you can dictate how and to whom your assets are to be distributed. Anyone who dies without a Will is automatically forced to follow legislation governing these matters. By not having a Will, you are, in essence, surrendering control to the courts and/or government, and allowing them to decide how your estate will get divided among your heirs. The governments’ legislation will also dictate who your heirs will be.
Nomination and Appointment of an Estate Trustee
One of the most important clauses in a Will is the nomination and appointment of an Estate Trustee. The Estate Trustee, typically a loved one, is the person responsible for dividing the estate and who will look after your affairs once you pass on. No estate can be distributed without the appointment of an Estate Trustee. By preparing your Will in advance, you get to determine who you wish to appoint as Estate Trustee.
Delays and Cost
When someone dies without a Will, their family is obliged to commence a court action and seek an order from the court appointing someone as the Estate Trustee. Until an appointment is ordered by the court, all of your assets will be frozen.
This process usually causes many delays as family members will have to follow court procedures and timelines. This can cause headaches to family member who are left struggling to deal with the deceased’s estate. All of this aggravation is preventable as long as you have a Will and have appointed an Estate Trustee.
Commencing a court action also leads to legal fees. By preparing a Will you will be saving your estate, and loved ones, avoidable costs.
To all parents with minor children, it is crucial that you prepare a Will. In your Will, you must address significant details such as who will be the guardians of your child(ren) and how their inheritance should be managed and used.
Another important point to consider is that, according to law, children are entitled to control any inheritance at the age of eighteen. By preparing a Will parents have an opportunity to dictate how the inheritance is to be distributed amongst their children and at what age. Many parents consider eighteen to be too young to manage an inheritance and therefore decide to choose a more appropriate age.