But I already have a Will – why do I need to update it?

Our lives change daily. We buy and sell assets, our children get older, loved ones pass, relationships change and the law keeps getting more complicated – especially relating to taxes. With all these changes going on we need to make sure that our Will and Estate Plan achieves what we want it to.

To make it easy we have listed below the 20 triggers to change your Will and Estate Plan. We find that a review of your Wills and Estate Plan every 3 years will make sure that your Estate Plan achieves your objectives and protects your loved ones.

The 20 triggers to review your Will and estate planning:

If any of the following occur you need to review your Will and Estate Planning.

Changes in your financial position or business position

Have you:

  1. acquired assets or disposed of assets, such as your home or an investment property? If any of your assets are gifted under your Will, have they been disposed of or changed in value? Could this cause a substantial inequality between the expected inheritances of your beneficiaries?
  2. changed how your assets are held:
    a) from joint ownership to a tenancy in common or vice versa? Or
    b) from individual ownership to being owned by a family trust or self-managed superannuation fund?
  3. changed your career from a low-risk occupation to an occupation with potential significant risk or liability of a negligence or creditor’s claim? Do you need better asset protection as a result?
  4. bought into a business or sold your interest in a business?
  5. entered into a Buy/Sell Agreement or Shareholders Agreement in respect to your business or company?
  6. received a substantial inheritance?
  7. provided financial accommodation to any of your children or other family members either as a loan or a gift? Consideration needs to be given to whether this is best protected as a loan instead of a
  8. updated or varied the terms of your Self-Managed Superannuation Fund (which may have resulted in previous beneficiary nominations becoming invalid)?
  9. reviewed your beneficiary nomination for your superannuation in the last 3 years or has it lapsed?
  10. changed your life insurance arrangements? Is your life insurance part of your superannuation fund or is it a standalone product? What impact will this have on the tax treatment of the payment of your life insurance?

Changes in your family circumstances or the circumstances of your beneficiaries

Have any of the following changes occurred?

  1.  have you changed the nature of your personal relationship? Entered into a domestic relationship? Married? Separated? Divorced? Each of these life events will have a different effect on your Will if you already have one.
  2. are you in a blended family arrangement? Does there need to be different considerations made for your current partner, your children and their children? Have you had multiple partners and multiple children or stepchildren?
  3. have any of your children or beneficiaries changed the nature of their personal relationships? Have they entered into a domestic relationship, married, separated or divorced? Do they have a new partner that you dislike or do not trust?
  4. has there been an estrangement between you and a beneficiary or family member? Are you wanting to exclude them from benefitting under your Will entirely or reduce their inheritance?
  5. are there significant material changes to a beneficiary’s position that means that additional protection is required? Do they run their own business? Have they been declared bankrupt or entered into a debt agreement? Do they have substance abuse issues or a gambling addiction? Do you want to provide better protection for them and their possible inheritance?
  6. have any of your executors or beneficiaries died, lost capacity, become disabled or are they under the influence or duress of a third party?
  7. have any of your children become adults or otherwise ceased to be dependent on you? This can significantly impact on the tax treatment of the payment of your superannuation entitlements when you
  8. have any of your intended beneficiaries moved overseas or returned to Australia, changing their tax status as a non-resident beneficiary?
  9. has the financial position of your beneficiary changed substantially? Have they won Tattslotto or received a significant inheritance?
  10. are any of your beneficiaries now receiving a Centrelink benefit that would be affected by an inheritance from your estate?

What happens if I don’t update my Will?

If you have experienced any of 20 reasons listed above, you need to review your Will.

If you don’t review your Will regularly, it can result in:

a. the wrong people receiving your wealth or the wrong assets
b. your loved ones paying too much tax; and/or
c. your loved one’s inheritance not being protected from bad relationships, creditors, or change in

How we can help

We make reviewing your estate planning easy. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. We are outcomes- focused and have clear strategies to achieve your goals.

Call us to discuss what you want to achieve with your Will and Estate Planning and we will be able to confirm if your current Estate plan achieves what you want to achieve.

If you have any questions about the process or how we can help, please get in touch with our Senior Associate, Joanne Jenkins, joanne@danahermoulton.com.au, or our Probate Clerk, Serena Hultgren, serena@danahermoulton.com.au .