If you die today, have you taken care of what you leave behind? A Will allows for you to make decisions in case the worst happens and while alive you hold the power to decide who will take care of your children, and what property and money goes to whom. Without this document, the government holds the power to make these personal decisions on your behalf.
Here are essential tips in drawing up a good Will:
- Keep it simple and practical.
- Update your records – Make sure your employer and retirement fund have your updated list of beneficiaries (CRF members only) as well as a list of those who depend on you.
- Get expert advice – Use a financial advisor as it is not wise to draw up your own Will unless you are an expert in this field. Understand that getting a will drawn up will require money, however in the long term it is an investment for your loved ones.
- The cost of getting a Will drawn up need not be expensive – but is always worth it! The cost may vary according to who is appointed as your executor. If unsure ask your Financial Advisor or Banking Institution.
- Understand the consequences within your Will. We all know families who are going through strife after a loved one dies where the Will created contention.
- Appoint an executor in your Will. The executor will own the responsibility of taking control of all assets, liabilities, as well as distributing assets according to your Will. Otherwise your loved ones are left having to do this while they are grieving. The process in some cases can take years.
- Nominate a trusted guardian should you have any children of your own and consider creating a trust for them so that their money can be managed by a neutral party who cannot be manipulated.
- Check what the term of your marriage contract dictates and make sure you understand what tax needs to be paid.
- Take care of your obligations, such as maintenance in a divorce order.
- And lastly, watch your language! There is a world of difference in stating, “I leave my Audi to my daughter” compared to “I leave an Audi to my daughter”.
Planning for your own loss is not the top of everyone’s bucket list; however it will be one of the most important documents you will ever sign and in doing so will create financial peace of mind for your loved ones you leave behind.