There are a number of circumstances that trigger the need to rethink your Will:
- Just got married or remarried? There might be children from a previous marriage (called a “blended family”).
- Are you aware that any previous Will is invalid upon marriage, unless your the Will was made in “contemplation” of marriage?
- Should a Mutual Will be what you need?
If you fail to update your Will to reflect major relationship changes, a large part of your estate may be awarded to an unintended spouse. If you have children from a previous marriage or other people you wish to provide for, it is worth taking control of your estate.
- Are you separated or divorced? – Separation itself does not affect a previous Will. However, the period of separation that occurs prior to divorce is possibly one of the most important times to ensure your Will reflects your changed circumstances. Your ex-spouse might be the Executor of your Will!
- In WA, where a divorce occurs after 9th February 2008, all previous Wills are automatically revoked upon divorce.
- Entering a de facto relationship? Sometimes this happens over time without having considered the consequences. De facto partners of any sex now have inheritance rights under the Administration Act 1903 (WA). You will need to establish your relationship was a de facto relationship. If you lived as a de facto partner with the deceased for at least two years immediately before their death you are now entitled to a share in the estate in certain circumstances. If your partner dies without a will, you should seek legal advice about your rights.
- Have you acquired / inherited assets – which may need specific consideration? Have you considered how these assets transition upon death?
- Have you started, bought or buying a business? The use of ‘Business Will’ provisions usually in the form of a buy and sell option ensures the smooth transition of the ownership of a business on the event of a death, total and personal disablement or trauma of an owner.
- Have you reviewed your superannuation documentation recently? Most binding nominations are only valid for 3 years from the time the binding nomination is made. You must formally complete a new binding death benefit nomination form every 3 years. If you do not do this, the binding nomination will become non-binding.