5 top tips for updating your Will before you travel

Not long now until holiday season is in full swing. If you’re travelling you’ve most likely arranged your passport, flights, travel insurance…..but have you made or updated your Will?

Not to put a dampener on the excitement that comes with a summer holiday, but it’s actually a good time to make or update your Will.

Holidays can be a welcome break, but occasionally something goes wrong, and it’s a good idea that your affairs are in order.

We’ve compiled five tips to making sure your Will is in place before you travel – then you can have a great time wherever you go with peace of mind.

  1. Make sure your Will is up to date: Wills don’t lapse simply due to the passing of time. However, circumstances do change. People get married or separated, children become adults, families grow, assets are sold or acquired, and the law changes from time to time. As a rule of thumb, we recommend that you read your Will yourself on an annual basis, and have a formal review of your Will with your lawyer at least every five years.
  2. Ensure your important documents are somewhere safe: Original certificates of title, life insurance policy documents, Wills, Powers of Attorney, trust deeds – these are all important documents, and are often difficult and expensive to replace. Robertson Hyetts Solicitors can store these documents for our clients in our secure safe-custody area free of charge.
  3. Prepare your Powers of Attorney: Whilst everyone understands the importance of having an up-to-date Will, many people only consider Enduring Powers of Attorney and Appointment of Medical Treatment Decision Maker as ‘optional extras’, sometimes leaving the preparation of these documents too late, to the frustration of their next of kin who are then unable to make decisions. The right time to have these documents in place is now. If appropriate, they can be drafted in such a way that they do not take effect unless the donor has lost the ability to make their own decisions.
  4. Inform your next of kin: If something happens to you, it is important that your next of kin know that they have a role to play. Ensuring that they are advised (or reminded) of their role in your Will or Power of Attorney can mean that they are familiar with tasks that need to be completed if the unexpected occurs such as a sudden loss of capacity or death, and are ready to take action as soon as required.
  5. Revisit your superannuation nomination: Your superannuation benefits do not automatically form part of your Will. To ensure that your superannuation flows to your intended beneficiaries in a quick and tax effective manner, it is important to ensure that you have an up-to-date binding death benefit nomination. For most superannuation funds, these will lapse every three years, and need to be updated.

For more information on Wills, Estate Planning, or protection of assets, please contact Trent McGregor in Bendigo on (03) 5434 6666 or Vesna Pocuca in Castlemaine on (03) 5472 1588.