It’s never too early to think about having a Will in place, advises Trent McGregor, of Robertson Hyetts Solicitors. “Anyone above the age of 18 should consider having a Will” he advises. “From this age onwards, we can start building wealth in our own name”.
What is wealth? “Typically, we think of wealth represented by conventional assets such as savings in a bank account, or equity in a first home”, says Trent. “Of equal importance are personal chattels, and intangibles such as digital assets, control over social media accounts, copyright in photos and blogs or other artistic works, and cryptocurrencies.”
When becoming parents for the first time, people often turn their minds to who should be the Guardian of their children. “It’s always a good idea to have a back-up in place”, adds Trent. “For example, someone might be ready and willing now, but in fifteen years time, there might be someone else better suited to the task.”
The role of Executor is separate from the role of Guardian. It is the Executor who looks after the assets, and if there are minor beneficiaries, manages that money until the beneficiaries are old enough to receive their inheritance. “A minor’s trust is a very simple type of trust, and ensures that money is invested, and available if needed, for someone who is not yet old enough to manage it themselves.”
Superannuation and attached insurance is often overlooked, and can lead to expensive and lengthy disputes in an estate. “One common source of dispute is that distribution of superannuation does not follow the laws of intestacy, and the danger can be that someone can claim to have been in a de facto relationship with a person in order to access their superannuation.” Preparing a binding death benefit nomination can help to ward off such problems.
Default intestacy provisions can apply if someone dies without a Will, but they are a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. “They are intended to be a rule of last resort, and rarely match up with intentions. They can lead to delays and added expense, or the forced sale of an asset, or the release of assets to a young adult who doesn’t yet have the maturity to properly manage their wealth”.
Preparing a straightforward Will can be a simple but valuable step to ensure that your wealth is managed as intended.
For further information or to make an appointment with Trent McGregor or Vesna Pocuca, please contact us in Castlemaine on 03 5472 1588 or Bendigo on 03 5434 6666.