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There is nothing like the threat of a coronavirus to give people pause to consider the importance of having a valid and up-to-date Will in place.

A Will is a legal document that sets out your final wishes. In accordance with the Wills Act 1936 (SA) a valid Will is one that meets specific technical requirements. These include the Will being in written format, signed by the testator (the person making the Will) in the presence of two independent witnesses (18+ years of age) who are present at the same time. The signatures of the witnesses must be made in the presence of the testator. Given current government-enforced social distancing rules, executing a Will correctly is easier said than done. However, there are solutions to this dilemma and our Wills and Estates team can help to ensure your Will is valid. A Will should also be drafted and signed by someone of sound mind, memory and understanding – without any undue influence.

A Will should reflect your current wishes and circumstances. As a guide you should review your Will every few years. Changes to your circumstances can include events such as marriage, separation or divorce; you may have become a parent or grandparent; bought or sold assets; retired or lost a loved one. A Scammell & Co. Wills and Estates lawyer can advise on the most appropriate Will structure which considers your asset pool, the best interests of you and your beneficiaries and tax liabilities or potential tax savings.

You should also consider having a Power of Attorney and an Advance Care Directive in place in the event you are mentally incapacitated. These documents allow people you know and trust to make decisions about your medical treatment, wellbeing and financial affairs if you can no longer make such decisions for yourself.

For further information please refer to our comprehensive Wills & Estates section.

 

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