Questions to Ask When Reviewing Your Will

As life evolves, so do our circumstances, and it’s important to regularly review and update our wills to reflect these changes. These are some of the things you should consider in consultation with your professional legal adviser.

Have My Personal Relationships Changed?

Over time, personal relationships can evolve and change. This may include changes in marital status, the birth or adoption of children, or grandchildren, or the estrangement from certain family members. It’s important to review your will and ensure that it accurately reflects your current relationships and any changes in beneficiaries, guardianship appointments, or distribution of assets.

Have My Financial Circumstance Changed?

Significant changes in your financial situation, such as acquiring new assets, selling properties, or starting a business, may require updates to your will. Reviewing and adjusting your will ensures that your assets are properly accounted for and distributed according to your current financial circumstances.

Have The Circumstances Of My Beneficiaries Changed?

We often make our will in accordance with the circumstances of our loved ones at a given point in time. For instance, it is common to see more being bequeathed to a handicapped child. Have these situations changed since you last reviewed your will?

It is also possible that when you last reviewed your will some of your beneficiaries were minors or still are. Perhaps you need to reconsider their guardianship arrangements.

Have There Been Changes In Law?

Tax laws related to estates and inheritances are subject to revisions over time. Regularly reviewing your will allows you to take advantage of any new tax-saving strategies or adjustments that can minimize the tax burden on your estate or beneficiaries. Changes in law may also sometimes mean that a strategy you had in place is now redundant. Stay informed about any updates in your jurisdiction that may affect your estate planning. Consult with a qualified legal professional to ensure that your will complies with current laws and maximizes tax efficiency.

Have I Relocated Since I Last Reviewed My Will?

Relocation to Another Jurisdiction: If you have moved to a different state or country, it is essential to review your will to ensure it complies with the laws and regulations of your new jurisdiction. Estate laws can vary significantly, and what was valid in your previous location may not be applicable or enforceable in your current one.

Is My Executor Still the Right Choice?

Your executor plays a vital role in administering your estate and ensuring that your wishes are carried out. Ask yourself if the person you initially appointed as your executor is still the best choice. Consider their availability, capability, and willingness to take on this responsibility. If necessary, update your will to reflect your current preference for an executor.

What Are My Healthcare and End-of-Life Wishes?

Ensure that your will is consistent with your healthcare directives, living will, and any other documents related to your end-of-life wishes. Verify that your appointed healthcare proxy or power of attorney aligns with your current preferences.

Are My Beneficiary Designations Up to Date?

Beneficiary designations on accounts such as superannuation, retirement plans, life insurance policies, and investment accounts often supersede the instructions outlined in a will. Regularly review these beneficiary designations to ensure they align with your current wishes. If changes are needed, update the beneficiary designations accordingly.

Are My Digital Assets Included?

What Happens to My Digital Assets? In today’s digital age, it’s crucial to consider your digital assets when reviewing your will. Digital assets can include online accounts, social media profiles, cryptocurrencies, digital photos, and more. Determine how you want these assets to be managed or distributed after your passing. Consider appointing a digital executor who can handle these assets according to your wishes and any legal requirements.

Have My Personal Goals or Philosophies Changed?

As you progress through life, your personal goals, values, and philosophies may evolve. It is essential to ensure that your will reflects your current priorities and beliefs. Reviewing your will provides an opportunity to make any necessary adjustments that align with your updated perspectives.

If you have included charitable organizations or causes in your will, assess whether your chosen beneficiaries still align with your philanthropic goals. Consider any new causes or charities that you may want to include or remove from your will.

Reviewing your will is not a one-time task but an ongoing process that requires periodic updates. By asking hard questions about your will, such as considering your digital assets and assessing changes in personal relationships, you can ensure that your estate planning remains relevant and effective. Regularly reviewing and updating your will helps to protect your assets, minimize potential conflicts, and provide peace of mind knowing that your wishes will be respected. Take the time to address these questions and consult with legal professionals to ensure that your will accurately reflects your current circumstances and provides for your loved ones in the future.

Australian Over 50s Living & Lifestyle Guide

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