• Tim Purcell, Founder

What to look for in your Will 🕵️

In this short blog post, we look at some of the key questions any modern Will must be able to answer to protect both the wishes of the Will owner and the futures of their beneficiaries.

Before Will Wizard, the only way to have a comprehensive modern Will that answered all of the questions below was to have multiple in-person meetings with a specialist estate planning lawyer.

And it was expensive. A couple could be expected to many a few thousand dollars or more.

To solve this expensive problem, we have made available online the modern Will templates that estate planning solicitors rely on.

If you want a Will that answers all of the questions below, try our guided form at the end of this post. It's free to try, and the best way to learn about your rights and options.

#1 For couples, a Will must plan for the surviving spouse or partner.

a) Does the Will include a Right of Residence or Right of Occupation clause to protect the primary residence of the surviving spouse from third parties?

Without the appropriate provisions, the family home could be lost if the surviving spouse’s new relationship fails, or if the surviving spouse has financial problems (caused by any number of reasons, from an economic downturn to business failure).

b) Does the Will include options for the surviving spouse to protect inherited assets and minimise their tax obligations by receiving their spouse's estate in testamentary trusts?

Most people do not realise that if they rely on a standard Will that does not include the appropriate testamentary trust legal provisions and terms, the long-term tax benefits and asset protection advantages of testamentary trusts cannot be obtained by their spouse and/or children after the fact. They are lost forever.

c) How much flexibility does the Will provide when it comes to dealing with any superannuation death benefits or life insurance benefits paid to the estate?

Most Wills don't plan for this possibility at all, and as such there can be significant tax consequences.

d) Does the Will allow the surviving spouse to minimise their taxable income by sharing income from inherited assets to family members on low tax rates?

For example, up to $18,200 p.a. of income from an investment property could be distributed from a testamentary trust and used to pay for a child or grandchild's school fees and living expenses.

e) Does the Will provide any additional guidance to assist the surviving spouse during this traumatic and stressful time?

Most standard Wills provide little to no guidance which can cause greater stress and greater estate administrative costs. A comprehensive Will sets clear priorities, provides flexibility in how an estate can be distributed and managed and should be accompanied by support and guidance documents to assist executors to facilitate the wishes of both the deceased and surviving spouse as quickly and efficiently as possible. <