Standard situation? Do you really need a Will? If so, what type?
Paul Brennan is the principal of Brennans Solicitors, a law firm located on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia, where he practices with his wife, Diane in the areas of business law, litigation, property and wills/estates.
Over the years, by working in various countries, he noticed how similar the law can be. He set out to explain the law in a simple and often humorous way.
Do you have a few bob? If not, this is not for you. If so, read on.
With wills, as in some other situations in life, size matters. Compare the size of your will with your friends. You will find some will have a whopping 19 pages which you may feel puts your small three pager to shame.
“But why bother?”, a client asked me the other day. He has one wife and one child. He plans to leave his wealth to her and if she is dead to his son. His son is capable, not a spend thrift, does not have a drug problem and is happy, hard working, mentally and physically sound. At that stage of the interview, I began to doubt that it was his son but that is by the by. Whereas some people get divorced they have decided to fight it out to the bitter end as many of us do.
A standard will seemed to fit his situation exactly. However, things change. He could die for instance. With such an attractive wife no doubt someone else would snap her up. Could this new man set about spending the money? Could his wife die and leave it to the new man so his inheritance does not reach his son.
Can the tax department be trusted? Could they decide to change the rules to take a cut of his money on death?
A long Will is packed with options for your executors. It can still do everything that a standard will can do, if that is the best thing for your beneficiaries. However, if you need a testamentary trust or some other clever device to protect your money, it gives your executors that option too.
One size does not fit all in the wills game, be warned.
Extract from "A LEGAL GUIDE TO DYING-baby boomer edition."
© Paul Brennan 2008. All Rights Reserved.