A Will is an essential legal document for every adult, no matter what life stage you are in.
What is a Will?
A Will sets out what you wish to happen after your death, for example who you want your property to go to, and who you wish to nominate as a Testamentary Guardian of your children.
What happens if I die without a Will?
If you die without a Will (known as dying intestate) rather than you expressing your wishes for how your property should be distributed, the law sets out who will inherit your Estate depending on your family circumstances. For example:
- If you have a spouse and children, then your spouse would get your personal chattels, $155,000 and one third of your Estate, and your children would get the remaining two thirds of your Estate.
- If you have a spouse and living parents but no children, then your spouse would get your personal chattels, $155,000 and two-thirds of the rest of your Estate, and your parents would get the remaining third of your Estate.
This means that you have no say in how your property is distributed. You also have no say in matters such as who administers your Estate, who will make decisions for your children and who will receive specific items.
What if I already have a Will?
If you have an up to date Will that is great! However, there are some things to keep in mind:
- You should review your Will regularly to make sure it is still suitable to your circumstances and still reflects your wishes.
- There are certain situations where Wills are usually cancelled automatically, for example if you get married or enter into a civil union, or if you get divorced or legally separated.
If you have any concerns or questions about your current Will, get in touch with us.
What do I need to think about before having my Will prepared?
- Who would you like to be your Executor? This should be a person that you trust to carry out your wishes and deal with your property after your death.
- Who do you want to receive your property?
- If you have minor children, who would you like to be their Testamentary Guardian? A Testamentary Guardian will have the right to make decisions on behalf of your children, but this does not mean they would have day to day care of the child (they would need to apply to the Family Court for that).
- Do you have any treasured possessions that you wish to pass on to specific people?
- Do you wish to leave any bequests to charities?
- What are your wishes regarding cremation or burial?
- Do you have a family trust or a business? If so, there may be additional clauses that should be included in your Will.
- Is there anyone that you are not including in your Will that would expect to be included? Certain people may be able to apply to the Court for a share of your Estate. If you are concerned that this could apply to you, we can go through your options with you.
Contact us and we would be happy to prepare a Will for you.
You can complete an online Will application – just go to the How Can We Help You section of our Website, and select Get It Done Online. Alternatively, contact our office and we can discuss your options with you in person.