Expressing Your End-Of-Life Preferences Through A "Statement Of Wishes"

Expressing Your End-Of-Life Preferences Through A "Statement Of Wishes"

A Statement of Wishes (SOW) is a morally binding document that enables you to articulate your preferences and views. This significant document accompanies your Last Will & Testament, providing a valuable resource for your executors and loved ones to understand your intentions.

This article offers a concise overview of the Statement of Wishes in estate planning and addresses common questions.

Understanding a Statement of Wishes

A Statement of Wishes is an informal document designed to complement your Will. It serves as a means to convey your personal end-of-life preferences and provides context for the executor of your Will and your family members.

This document proves especially beneficial for those tasked with managing your estate after your passing. It offers insights when you are no longer available to provide explanations. For example, if your Will excludes someone, a Statement of Wishes might provide background information explaining your decision. This could include details about your relationship (or lack thereof) with the individual excluded.

In the event of your passing, affordable funeral arrangements and cremation services may also be addressed in your Statement of Wishes, ensuring that your preferences are honoured while easing the burden on your loved ones during a challenging time.

It's essential to note that a Statement of Wishes expresses your desires but does not have legal binding. It does not supersede or alter the provisions outlined in your Will.

What to Include in a Statement of Wishes

A Statement of Wishes can cover various matters, including:
  • Unconventional decisions made in your Will (e.g., excluding specific individuals or specifying particular gifts to individuals).
  • Instructions regarding the care of young children or dependants.
  • Guidance on the distribution of personal items (if not already addressed in the Will).
  • Directions on the location of essential documents (e.g., property title certificate, Will, prepaid funeral documents, insurance papers).
  • A record of digital assets (e.g., social media accounts, financial and banking accounts, including modern apps like Raiz, email accounts, etc.).
Including details about affordable burial services and cremations in your Statement of Wishes can help ensure that your end-of-life preferences are communicated clearly, offering your loved ones guidance during a challenging time.

Is Registration Required?

Registering your Statement of Wishes is not a mandatory process. However, it is advisable to store the document alongside your Last Will & Testament in a secure and easily accessible place. It is also recommended to provide a copy to your Executor or Next of Kin or, at the very least, inform them of its existence.

When storing the document with your Will, take care not to staple or attach it to the Will document in any way, as this could potentially invalidate your Will.
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