When preparing Wills for clients, one of the key takeaway messages once the Wills have been finalised is the need for Wills to be reviewed at regular intervals.
Our clients change their Wills for a variety of reasons and at different intervals but one of the important considerations when changing your Will is whether to tell anybody else that may be affected by it.
In preparing Wills, for example, for a husband and wife, both parties know clearly what each other is doing and usually make provision for substitute attorneys and beneficiaries in case both spouses both die before inheriting from the other. In those cases, children and other relatives or close friends can often be appointed as executors under the Will to undertake the important and often onerous role of managing the affairs of the deceased following their death.
In those cases, it is often a good idea to notify those that have been appointed as executors that you have named them in your Will and that they may, possibly, have to fulfil that role at some time in the future. Telling those parties that they have a potential role in the administration of your estate, not only puts them on notice but also gives them an opportunity at the time you prepare your Will, to confirm that they are prepared to undertake that role.
Although circumstances can change and executors may decline the opportunity to manage your estate, telling them that they have been appointed is a good first step towards ensuring that they at least understand the reasons why you have nominated them.
Although it is not necessary to disclose to executors or others the contents of your Will, it can often be a good idea to notify them in advance of the position of trust you have nominated them to take up and/or avoid the possibility that, if somebody is surprised at being appointed, they politely decline and leave the management of your estate in limbo until an appropriate substitute can be organised.
In all cases we recommend you not only review and amend your Will, when necessary, from time to time, but also keep in touch with those who might be affected by it so that your wishes are respected.
For more information or to discuss, please phone Kennedy Spanner Lawyers on (07) 4639 2944.