When considering the content of your Will, there are a number of important decisions to make to ensure that your family is not left in an awkward predicament when winding up your estate.
If you have minor children and you pass away simultaneously with your spouse, the Master of the High Court will look to your Will as to who is nominated as the guardian of your children. Unless you have made your wishes clear in your Will, the legal process to appoint a guardian may result in an appointment of someone who wouldn’t have been your choice in the first place. To prevent this, it is a good idea to nominate your first and then an alternate choice of guardian for your minor children in your Will.
You may also want to consider establishing a Testamentary Trust to hold the inheritance of any minor children in case you and your spouse pass away together. This will ensure that your assets are taken care of to benefit your minor children and not potentially squandered by a guardian who will take control of the inheritance if a trust is not set up.
The question here quite simply is “to whom would you like to give your assets?” This could be your spouse, children, extended family or friends. It is also important to deal with various scenarios such as a simultaneous death of spouses or a family calamity where both husband and wife as well as children pass away together.
If you have married for a second time, are there children from both marriages to consider? You may need to ensure that particular assets are inherited by your children born of your previous marriage and other assets by your new family.
Winding up an estate is a complex undertaking as it involves dealing with all of the relevant State departments involved, as well as the transfer of ownership of various classes of assets to perhaps more than one heir, depending on the terms of the will. Your nominated executor should be someone who is trustworthy and has the necessary background and qualifications to administer your estate in a professional manner.
Should you require assistance in drafting your Will or planning your estate, please contact one of our financial advisors and fiduciary specialists.
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted. (E&OE)
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