As the festive season starts to crank up people are busy
planning their Christmas dinners. Each family have their own
traditions and this is reflected in the different types of food
they serve up. We take care to plan meals that people can share and
When discussing a Will with a client, different family
arrangements often come up as well. Common ingredients we use to
provide a person with peace of mind that their final wishes will be
carried out include:
2 cups of fairness
Does an equal split of your assets among children result in a
fair outcome? Maybe one child has a greater need to be provided
1 cup of kindness
Is there a charity who could benefit from a gift? Leaving your
favourite charity some money is a great way to support their
1 cup of forgiveness
It is common for people to give a son or daughter a lump sum
gift towards the purchase of their first home with a joking comment
"here is an early inheritance". But what does that
expression mean? Does it mean it's a loan from you that they
need to repay to your estate? Or, is it meant to come out of their
share of the estate? Whatever you mean by it, we need to include a
1 tablespoon of executor clauses
This is to ensure that your executor is not just appointed, but
is empowered to undertake a variety of roles to properly see to the
administration and distribution of the estate.
Once you have your ingredients all combined, we blend it
together. Oh, and speaking of blended families, if you own property
with your partner, how you hold that property is vital. If you are
both joint tenants, the other joint tenant will automatically
inherit your share in the property regardless of what your Will
states. This can cause tension as people can have real fears that
their own children might miss out because the new partner takes the
house – often the main asset of the estate.
For alternative toppings, what if the partner re-partners and
they update their Wills? What if they have a falling out with your
children? These are all valid concerns but if you own the property
as tenants in common, your Wills can state who you wish to give
your share of the property too. This will result in your partner
and your children ending up on title together. This could be
fantastic and everything you dreamed of or, a recipe for disaster
These are not easy decisions to make and much like cooking a
macaron, getting the balance between your partner and your children
is vital, so it doesn't all collapse in a big mess.
Serve your Will with the correct execution – two
independent witnesses, both over eighteen who know exactly where to
sign. Store in a safe place. If properly drafted, it should stay
fresh for many years to come.
Remember – everyone's family is different. If you
think it's too hard to make arrangements in a Will this
doesn't mean you should toss it into the too hard basket.
Departing the world without a Will is harder on those left
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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