Your Will – what should you be telling your solicitor?

I recently met with a client, to receive her instructions to draft her Will and Enduring Powers of Attorney.

I noticed early on in our appointment that I was receiving short and sharp answers to my questions. It wasn’t hard to figure out that there were some underlying issues in my client’s marriage which was causing her to pause and think before she answered the questions.

It’s important to share as much information with your solicitor about your circumstances as it may impact on your estate plan.

What information should you give to your solicitor when preparing your Will?

A good estate planning solicitor will naturally draw out any personal issues or circumstances which they know will have an impact on your estate plan. However, if you are engaging a firm to assist with your estate planning, here are some of things you should be telling your solicitor:

  • If you are estranged from a child or children – if you are estranged from a child or children, and you are not making provision for them in your Will, there will be a risk of an application for provision against your estate which may have an impact on your beneficiaries’ entitlements.
  • Terminal illness – it is important that you advise your solicitor if you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. The solicitor can advise the surviving partner what to expect and what will need to be attended to on the death of that person.
  • If you have step-children – step-children may be eligible to make an application for provision from your estate.
  • If you are holding any money on trust for someone else – monies held on trust do not form part of your estate. It is important to share with your solicitor if you are acting as a trustee, so your solicitor can consider the terms of the trust and whether it’s necessary to address this in the Will.
  • If you are thinking of marrying – marriage has the effect of revoking a Will. Therefore, if you are preparing a Will knowing that you may marry in the short term, your solicitor may include a clause in the Will to prevent the Will from being revoked on marriage.
  • If you are recently divorced – like marriage, divorce will generally revoke certain terms of your Will. To ensure there are no issues with your Will following a divorce, it is appropriate to have it reviewed as soon as possible.
  • If you have assets overseas – if you have assets overseas, it is important to make sure you are taking steps to make the administration of those foreign assets easier for your executors. Your solicitor will be able to give you advice on what options you have to administer those foreign assets in your estate.

The above list is a snapshot of some of the things you should be sharing with your solicitor.

If you have any questions, or wish to prepare a Will, please do not hesitate to contact me.