The Brief for Accountants & Financial Planners
May 2018

Is your Will up to date?

Two minute scenarios...

It's a good feeling when you've had your Wills completed. When they are safely stored away and you have ticked all the necessary boxes. However, Wills are not always "set and forget". Let's look at some potential pitfalls.

Scenario One... Tom and Joan

Scenario: Tom and Joan had their Wills done a few years ago and made specific bequests of particular assets to each of their children. They recently sold an investment property and invested the proceeds in shares.

What's the issue? Their eldest daughter who was to have inherited the investment property would now receive nothing.

Solution: Tom and Joan need to have their Wills updated. Best practice would be to not nominate specific assets but rather percentages of the estate. They can leave a statement of wishes regarding particular distributions which, while not binding, might be helpful for the family.

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Scenario Two... Tom has passed away

Scenario: When Tom and Joan had their Wills done they nominated each other as executor. Tom died two years ago.

What's the issue? Joan had nominated her eldest son as alternate executor in her Will but she no longer wants him to take on the role alone.

Solution: Joan can have her Will updated to reflect her wishes. She can choose for example, to appoint both of her children as co-executors.

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Scenario Three... Joan has a new partner, Bob

Scenario: Joan received all of Tom's estate when he passed away and she has recently started a new relationship with Bob, Tom's best friend.

What's the issue? Bob doesn't have a lot of assets and if Joan dies without leaving him something in her Will he may challenge the estate.

Solution: Joan may need to update her Will to provide in some way for Bob. A lawyer will have to advise on the amount she might need to leave him as it will depend on Bob's needs, her children's needs, and her total estate value.

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