A Will is a legal document which clearly sets out your wishes about the distribution of your assets if you die and, where you have children under the age of 18, who you wish to appoint as their guardians. Every adult should have a Will. Even though legislation exists in case you do not have a Will, the result is highly unlikely to be what you would have wanted and could be unsatisfactory and inappropriate to those left behind.
Given the complexity of laws governing succession, including taxation issues and claims by family members (challenging the Will), a lawyer will:
It is important that all adults have a current Will.
If you die without leaving a valid Will you are deemed to have died ‘intestate’ and it is necessary for a court to appoint an administrator to deal with your estate.
Your estate will be distributed according to rules set by Government legislation. These rules vary from state to state, but generally the distribution is to your spouse, children and then other next of kin such as brothers, sisters, parents, in proportions set out in the legislation.
The Government legislated way of distributing your estate may not suit your family needs. Therefore, it is important to make a Will so you can ensure that your estate is distributed to beneficiaries of your choosing.
The Executor is the person or persons whom you appoint to administer your estate.
We recommend that there be two Executors or one Executor but if he or she dies, then another Executor (a backup Executor) is also named in the Will. This is merely to protect against the situation of an Executor dying or becoming incapacitated before you and before you have a chance to update your Will with new Executor details.
An Executor should be someone you trust to deal with the assets in your estate, in accordance with your wishes. Executors can act by themselves or they can engage a lawyer to assist them. If they engage a lawyer, the legal fees can be covered from the proceeds of the estate.
When making a Will you should consider the following:
There are a number of instances where you should consider revising and/or updating your Will. These include:
Always remember; your Will should not be thought of as static. You should consider and, if necessary, amend it regularly (usually, every 5 or so years).
However, there is not often a formal “reading” of the Will and a funeral or cremation is regularly organised prior to the Will being looked at.
You should make your family and Executor aware of your wishes in respect of a cremation or burial at the time you make your Will. We can assist you to create your own detailed guide as to your wishes for your funeral service to give to them or keep with your important documents.
Once your Will has been signed, it should be kept in a safe place with your important documents, or in a bank safe deposit box. We hold numerous Wills on behalf of clients and are more than happy to retain it on your behalf. There is no fee for this service.
It is most important that your Executor and major beneficiaries are made aware as to where your original Will is located.
You may also wish to provide a copy of your Will to your Executor(s).
A Will is a single document. An Estate Plan involves a more rigorous approach involving:
When you meet with our expert lawyers they'll be ready to provide advice.
The simple way to get a Will: get peace of mind with a solicitor-drafted Will and other important documents. Ensure your loved ones are provided for, and have your Will prepared quickly and easily as possible.
Learn about the key steps and timelines for dealing with a Deceased Estate including your role and obligations as executor, applying for a Grant of Probate, what to do if there is no Will and how we can help you.