Wills

Every adult should have a Will. Even though legislation exists in case you do not have a Will, the result could be unsatisfactory and inappropriate to those left behind.

So why use a lawyer to make your Will? Given the complexity of laws governing succession, including taxation issues and claims by family members, you need:

  • Information to understand what you need to consider in making your Will
  • Assistance to provide a Will which fulfils your expectations

FAQs

  • Why should I make a Will?

    It is important that you 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.

    The Government legislated way of distributing your estate may not suit your family needs. Thus, it is important to make a Will so you can ensure that your estate is distributed to those you wish to take care of.

  • What does "Executor" mean?

    The Executor is the person or persons whom you appoint to administer your estate (for further information refer to Probate FAQs). We recommend that there be two Executors or one Executor but if he or she dies, then another Executor is appointed. This is merely to protect against the situation of an Executor dying before you and before you have a chance to update your Will for the appointment of a new Executor.

    An Executor should be someone you trust to deal with the assets in your estate in accordance with your wishes.

  • What should I consider when making my Will?

    When making a Will you should consider the following:

    • Who you wish to appoint as your Executor or Executors.
    • Who you wish to be named as a beneficiary or beneficiaries of your estate.
    • The amount or share of your estate to be given to each beneficiary.
    • Whether you wish for specific items to be given to specific beneficiaries.
    • If you have children under the age of 18, who you wish to appoint as guardian of your children.
    • Whether you wish to stipulate burial or cremation instructions.
  • When should I revise my Will?

    There are a number of instances where you should consider revising your Will. These include:

    • If you change your name, or anybody named in the Will changes theirs;
    • If an Executor dies or becomes unwilling to act as Executor or becomes unsuitable due to age, ill health, long term absence from Australia or any other reason;
    • If a beneficiary (someone who has been left something in the Will) dies;
    • If you have specifically left any property which you subsequently sell or give away or put in trust or into a partnership or which changes its character. This applies particularly to specifically bequeathed shares in a company which restructures its share capital;
    • If you marry or divorce; or if you have children (including adopted or fostered children);
    • If you enter into, or end, a de facto relationship.

    In any event, remember that your Will should not be thought of as static. You should consider and, if necessary, amend it regularly (say, every 5 or so years).

  • Can my Will indicate my wishes in respect of cremation or burial?

    Yes. However, there is not often a formal reading of the Will and a funeral or cremation is often organised prior to the Will being read. It is for this reason you should make your family and Executor aware of your wishes in respect of a cremation or burial.

  • Where should I keep my Will?

    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. It is most important that your Executor and major beneficiaries be made aware as to where your Will is located.

    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.

  • What is the difference between a Will and an Estate Plan?

    An Estate Plan involves a more rigorous approach to appreciating your family relationships and understanding the nature and extent of your assets, liabilities and financial resources, then devising a strategy which takes account of the needs of your family, the protection of your wealth after death and the minimisation of the imposition of taxes and duties.  For further information, refer to Estate Planning.