Good estate planning ensures that your assets go to the people
that you want to benefit when you die. A large part of good estate
planning is having a valid and up-to-date Will.
Once your Will has been signed, you should revisit it regularly
to make sure that it still gives effect to your wishes. You should
also be aware that there are some circumstances in which your Will
might be revoked or invalidated, in which case you will need to
prepare a new one.
If your Will is revoked or invalidated and you do not prepare a
new one, your previous Will or the rules of intestacy will be
applied to your estate when you die. For more information about
this, see our article
What is a Will and why do I need one?
Events that might revoke or invalidate your Will
The following events may have the effect of re-writing or
revoking all or part of your Will:
marrying or entering into a registered relationship after
signing your Will; or
divorcing a spouse that you were married to at the time of
signing your Will.
These can also revoke your Enduring Power of Attorney.
In some circumstances you can make a valid Will and Enduring
Power of Attorney in contemplation of marriage or divorce, which
will not need to be re-written when the later event occurs.
Your overall estate plan
A good estate plan will also deal with assets that you cannot
pass under your Will, including superannuation and assets in a
family trust or company. Therefore, when considering and updating
your Will, it is important to revisit your entire estate plan to
ensure that all of the assets that you control are properly dealt
with, particularly if your structure has changed since your last
review. For more information about what assets you cannot pass
control of under your Will, see our article
What assets can my Will deal with?
Events that might affect your overall estate plan
Generally, you should revisit your estate plan at least every
three to five years. Some examples of when you should revisit your
estate plan sooner include where:
your financial circumstances change;
your family circumstances change, for example, if you marry,
start a new relationship, divorce, separate, or have children or
a beneficiary under your current Will dies;
an executor or trustee appointed under your current Will dies
or becomes unsuitable to act due to age or ill-health;
you sell or give away assets that are specifically mentioned in
you buy or inherit significant assets;
you begin to hold assets that your Will cannot deal with, such
as in superannuation or a trust; or
the entities or structures you hold assets in change.
It is important that all of the necessary legal requirements to
give effect to any changes or updates to your Will (and other
documents, such as trust deeds) are completed correctly; otherwise
your wishes may not be carried out. In some circumstances and if
done incorrectly, small changes made to a Will can revoke or
invalidate the entire document. Therefore, it is important that you
seek appropriate advice rather than try to amend or alter your
estate planning documents yourself.
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The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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If you are doing a Will, or you are the executor of a deceased estate, consider what taxes and duties could be payable.
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