Dear friends and readers
Val Antoff who works with me on the www.affordablelaw.com.au website has written a new article about wills and their relevance to newlyweds. I am sure if you are newlywed, or planning to wed, the article will be of interest.
Do call me for a consult if you feel the article has raised an issue or two regarding your estate planning.
Common mistakes made by newlyweds in relation to their estate plans
1. Not having a valid Will
If you are one of those highly organised people then you are likely to have had a duly executed Will at the time of your wedding. However, unless you made your Will in contemplation of your marriage your Will has been revoked by operation of the law. Do not assume that if you die without a Will your spouse collects everything. This is not always the case. Your estate will be distributed under your legislated Will and the outcome might be significantly different from what you would have liked to happen with your assets.
2. Forgetting to execute or review your Living Will.
A Living Will ensures that all financial, healthcare and lifestyle decisions will be made by the person or people you trust most if you became mentally incapacitated. A Living Will is made up of an Enduring Power of Attorney, Enduring Power of Guardianship and an Advance Health Directive.
3. Forgetting to update the beneficiaries of your superannuation funds.
Superannuation investments do not form part of your estate. Unless you have made a binding death nomination one of your beneficiaries may benefit from your superannuation proceeds to the detriment of another beneficiary as was the case in Katz v Grossman in NSW.
4. Forgetting to update the nominated beneficiary of your life insurance policy.
If you intend the proceeds of your life insurance policy to go to someone else than the nominee, then you must not forget to change the nominee. If you are uncertain whether you have nominated a beneficiary then you should consult your insurance company.
5. Forgetting to make certain that your children from your prior relationship receive a fair share of your estate.
If you have made a Will and left the bulk of your estate to your present partner and you rely on the moral obligation of your partner to provide for your children from a prior relationship than those children are at risk of not getting what you would have wished for them. Your current spouse may remarry after your death and have further children and leave the assets inherited from you to her children forgetting about any moral obligations to your children. By now you should have seen the pitfalls of leaving the whole of your estate to your present spouse if you have children from a prior relationship.
So if you are planning a wedding, give this article some serious thought before walking down the aisle.