Succession planning – Is Your Will Up To Date?


No one wants to contemplate death, which makes writing or updating a will an unpleasant experience.

Having an updated will is vital to ensure your wishes are followed after you die. It makes the process of sorting through your finances less stressful for your family and can prevent disagreements when settling your estate.

Your will is a way of dictating who will arrange and settle your estate and how you want your assets divided. It can outline who will take care of young children, can request money be left to charity or to non-family members, can specify who may take over your business and can also specify how your remains should be dealt with.

“As part of Succession Planning, we seek to ensure our clients have a current and valid will, ” Porters CA Director Simon Terry said. “Think of it as part of a business plan. You don’t work all these years without ensuring you have a plan for the future of your business, your finances and your family’s security.”

Writing a will is not usually a complex process. We can recommend appropriate Legal firms who will help ensure your will is comprehensive and has minimal chance of being contested.

A will is an official and legally binding document which has two main benefits;

1. A will ensures your wishes are followed

Most people have some idea of how they want their estate divided. The problem is that without a will, those wishes likely won’t be followed.

An official will states who receives what after you die. Without a will or with an invalid will,  your estate will be divided based on the law, regardless of your relationship with family members. That means people you’re estranged from could have a claim and those you care about but who aren’t family may receive nothing.

An out-of-date will won’t reflect any changes in your familial or financial circumstances. If you have a variety of new investments or you’ve recently got married (even if your defacto was written in your will, becoming a spouse invalidates the will), if you’ve had children or been divorced, a current will must take those changes into account.

2. It lessens stress on your family

Your death will likely be a traumatic and stressful time for your family. Dividing up an estate is already hard enough. Having to negotiate an invalid or out-of-date will makes the trauma that much harder.

None of us want to contemplate it but greed and fear of the unknown also bring out the worst in people. Prevent family in-fighting and protect your family from others making a claim on their part of the inheritance. Without a will, there is no proof that is not the case. A former spouse may end up with an inheritance that should have gone to someone else if your will has not been updated.

Even if your executor knows what you intended, if someone wants to contest your wishes, they may do so, successfully, if your will is not up-to-date. This can result in your estate going to probate. Probate. Probate is the process of proving and registering in the Supreme Court the last Will of a deceased person.  This can substantially lengthen the time, costs and complexity associated with settling your estate.

Final thoughts

Although you might not want to think about your own mortality, think of it as an insurance policy to protect those who may be left behind. A valid, up-to-date will is the best way to ensure your wishes are observed and the people you love are not left with added stress or family feuds.

Ensuring you have a will is part of effective business succession planning. Contact us to find out more. Contact your Accountant Perth (08)64360900 or Accountant Albany (08)98422511

Want to grow your business? Our Free Resources will Help