Do you need to update your Will? When was the last time you looked at your will and decided whether it was still appropriate? For most Australians, updating their will is well overdue.

At APS Benefits, we encourage clients and members to think about a Will as life planning. This means that your Will should change when your life changes.

As you reach significant milestones in your life, it is important to consider you Will. You should consider how these major changes also affect what happens to your assets and family after your passing.

The 5 life stages

Update your will when buying your first home

Buying a home is a proud moment for all Australians. This is especially the case for young Australians who are now often saving for decades before being able to afford their first home.

Whether it’s a family home or an investment, most property represents a significant asset that can be assigned to beneficiaries in a number of ways. You may decide to divide your estate equally amongst family members, or to one family member such as a spouse or child. In certain circumstances such as having a family member with a disability, you may like to assign a higher percentage to one family member.

There are many factors to consider. By making these decisions in your Will, you will save your family the stress of making these decisions on your behalf.

After getting married

Wills allows you to list individual people and assets. That means there’s the opportunity for you to allocate an inheritance to children from previous relationships, as well as to friends and charities. Updating your will after marriage gives you the peace of mind that your new spouse will be financially secure if you are to pass before them.

Updating your will can be particularly important when entering a marriage that includes children from previous relationships and if you choose to have multiple beneficiaries.

If you do not update your will to reflect this relationship change, a large part of your estate may be awarded to your spouse. This is worth keeping in mind if you intend to have multiple beneficiaries.

Update your Will when you have children

Having a baby will have an incredible impact on your life in more ways than one. It is important to keep in mind that your child will depend on you for many years. So what happens if something happens and you are no longer in their life?

Complex family situations and legal guardianship for children are important decisions that can be captured in a Will. Children with cognitive disorders face potential difficulties in Will making especially around securing lifetime care.

You will also need to consider who you will assign as your child’s guardian if both parents pass before your child. This will give you confidence that your family is taken care of and provided with the appropriate financial support.

When you start a business

If you own a business, this is an asset that needs to form a significant part of your Will.  Intergenerational businesses or businesses with international assets can be complicated. It is important to seek the advice from a lawyer if you have a complex business that needs to be managed when you pass.

After a divorce

Divorce can cause enormous stress on a family. Updating your Will accordingly will ensure that your loved ones are taken looked after. It will also mean that former partners are not included in your Will if you wish to exclude them.

Depending on which state you live in, divorce may automatically mean that your Will is invalid. In some states, divorce will simply mean that your former spouse is no longer an executor or beneficiary of your Will. Either way, after a divorce it is important to check your Will reassess any changes.

Do you need to update your Will?

Have you reached any of these significant life events and not updated your Will? Take time to reflect on what you need to update so that everything is taken care of.

Updating your will can be a very seamless process. The APS Wills & Estates team are here to help you every step of the way. To find out more, click here or call 1300 131 809