Your Will should be up to date and should accurately reflect your wishes.
You must appoint an executor, or executors, who you can rely upon to carry out your wishes.
The role of an executor need not be difficult and executors can seek help and advice from a solicitor at any time.
You must also nominate the beneficiaries of your estate, that is, who do you leave all or parts of your estate to? Are there any specific gifts to be made?
Always consider who would receive your estate, or a share of your estate, if any particular beneficiary passed away before you.
For parents of infant children, consideration should be given to who would be the guardian or guardians of those children.
ENDURING POWERS OF ATTORNEY
Just as important as a Will, the Enduring Power of Attorney appoints a person, or persons, who may manage your finances, bills and assets should you be injured or suffer an illness and cannot take care of these matters yourself.
ADVANCE CARE DIRECTIVE
This is another equally important document, but deals with your health and lifestyle issues.
It appoints a person, or persons, (called your Substitute Decision Makers) who can speak on your behalf if you have been injured or have suffered an illness.
Your Substitute Decision Maker can deal with matters such as doctors, hospitals, accommodation, rehabilitation and even end-of-life decisions.
You should nominate someone who is aware of your wishes and will faithfully make those decisions for you if need be.
With a properly prepared Will, dealing with an estate should not be complicated.
The executor must identify what assets make up the estate, then call in those assets and distribute them and all possessions to the beneficiaries named in your Will.
The executor must firstly pay any debts.
We suggest that people keep a rough guide for their executors setting out where assets may be, including bank accounts, shareholdings and so on. It is also beneficial to mention what liabilities may exist, including personal loans, credit cards and so on. If a guide or list is kept, you must never attach it to the Will in any way whatsoever.
In many cases, for example, where a person owns real estate or there is a substantial amount of money held in bank accounts, Probate will need to be obtained.
The Grant of Probate is obtained from the Supreme Court of South Australia and while it is not a difficult procedure, it is usually advisable to obtain the help of a solicitor to manage the technical side of such an application, which is usually not expensive provided that the Will has been properly drawn.
In the case of intestacy (a person whom has passed away without a Will), a Grant of Letters of Administration is often required. This can be more complicated than obtaining Probate and the distribution of the estate is not decided by the person who has passed away but by the provisions of legislation which dictate how the estate is to be distributed.
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