So, you have a Will. How do you know if your Will is tax effective?

You’ve done the right thing. You’ve got a Will. You may have had a lawyer prepare it for you. And you’re happy with the beneficiaries listed in the Will. Hopefully, you’ve stored it somewhere obvious so your Executors can find it in the event that it is needed. But does your Will really meet your needs?

Over the years we have reviewed countless Wills for our clients. And we’ve seen some real doozies in terms of costly mistakes. Here are the top 5 problems we see in Wills. These are the top 5 things that end up costing more money when an estate is distributed and can lead to arguments among the beneficiaries.


1  Shared equally or shared equally as tenants in common?

Most people want their children to share the estate equally upon the death of both parents.

But if your Will says share equally as tenants in common it might need to be reviewed. The phrase “tenants in common” might not seem like much – but it can lead to unnecessary expenses and unnecessary tax.

2  Provision for children under 18

If your Will provides for minor beneficiaries, you may want to consider a testamentary trust.

Without a testamentary trust, the minor beneficiaries may be subject to a higher tax rate on their inheritance.

3  What will be the costs of actioning the Will?

Families come in all shapes and sizes. And, when it comes to blended families, and separated families, sometimes a Will can end up quite complicated to ensure that the money goes to the right person.

Depending on how your Will is written, this can sometimes lead to excessive costs in managing and distributing that money.

4  Have you got a death nomination for your super?

If your super fund has received a death nomination from you, then your super will be distributed according to that document, and not necessarily per your Will.

This means that you need to review your superannuation death nomination to ensure it is consistent with your wishes and with your Will.

5  Is your Will actionable?

Is your Will dated? Are all pages signed? Did the Will maker and the witnesses all sign with the same pen? The witnesses should not be beneficiaries of the Will or related to a beneficiary.

Is your Will clear and able to be understood? Is it consistent with your wishes? Are your executors still the best option?

If your Will isn’t legally valid, then it can’t be actioned. And your assets will be subject to intestacy laws. Your beneficiaries may end up paying a lot more tax and having a lot more stress than if your Will was valid.

What can you do?

Review your Will. Look out for any of the obvious points we’ve listed above that may make your Will less effective. If you’re not sure, or you think there might be a problem, talk to a professional. If you are concerned about the tax consequences of your Will, we suggest an estate and capacity planning meeting.

Estate and capacity planning meetings

Equinox Accounting offers estate and capacity planning meetings to review the tax consequences of your Will, enduring power of attorney and superannuation death nominations. For more information, or to book an appointment please contact our office.