Making a Will
A Will is a very important legal document which ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after you die. Any person aged 18 or older and of sound mind can make a Will.
Must I make a Will?
You have no legal obligation to make a Will, but it is a wise choice.
What will happen if I don’t make a Will?
If you die without a Will, your assets will be distributed according to a rigid government formula. This formula may:
- force your surviving spouse to share assets with your children;
- force the sale of your family home so that other beneficiaries can receive their share of the assets;
- not provide future financial protection for your spouse, children or grandchildren;
- leave incapacitated members of your family without adequate support; and
- give your assets to the government, if you have no relatives.
You will also have no say in:
- who administers your estate; and
- who is appointed guardian of your children if they are under 18 years of age.
Preparing a Will
A Will is an important legal document which should be prepared by an experienced solicitor. Before visiting your solicitor, consider:-
- who to appoint as your executor;
- who to appoint as guardian of your children;
- do you wish to be cremated or buried;
- do you wish to be an organ donor;
- what are your current assets and liabilities;
- who should receive your assets;
- how you would like to provide for your spouse and children’s future; and
- is there someone you would like to preclude from any benefit.
Storing your Will
We maintain a safe storage facility for all your important documents such as your Will which is kept securely locked at all times. Your security documents can only be released with your written consent.
Changes to your Will
You are free to change your Will at any time and as often as you wish.
Many events will either:
- automatically cause a change to your Will;
- make it necessary for you to change your Will.
Those include a marriage, separation or divorce of you or a beneficiary and the death of a beneficiary On marriage, your current Will is automatically invalid unless it specifically states that it is made in contemplation of marriage.
If you divorce, your divorced spouse is not entitled to any gift previously expressed in your Will but might continue to be entitled to be a Trustee of part of the estate for your children. If you separate but do not divorce your estranged spouse continues to be entitled to any gift previously expressed in your Will.
Can I prepare my own Will?
You can prepare your own Will but you do so at the risk of causing emotional and financial stress to your family and loved ones.
When preparing a Will, a range of strict requirements must be followed to ensure your Will is valid.
If your Will is considered invalid then you are considered not to have a Will or an earlier Will may apply if one existed.
If your Will is considered valid but your words do not express your wishes accurately according to the law, then your Will may need to be interpreted by a Court with the legal costs being paid out of your estate.
It is also seldom the case that even a properly prepared Will adequately deals with all of your assets (such as superannuation). Part of preparing a Will is ensuring that all assets are properly considered and dealt with, often outside of the Will.
Is there such a thing as a 'free' Will?
There is no such thing as a ‘free’ Will despite offers of the Public Trustee and Trustee companies to prepare your Will free of charge. These trustees often appoint themselves as executor and after your death can charge a commission usually calculated as a percentage of the value of your estate.
This can easily run into thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars. We only charge you a one-off fee for preparing your Will and you can choose your own Executor.
Ask us about the cost of preparing your Will. You will be surprised at how inexpensive such an important document is!
Our service to you
We appreciate the importance of your personal affairs. Throughout our relationship you will receive expert guidance to assist you in your decisions. Our experienced team will be responsible for preparing your Will and will meet you personally to discuss your wishes.
Your Will is an extremely important document and there are many different issues to consider. Allowing us to assist you will ensure that this personal document is given the thorough attention it deserves.
We guarantee professionalism, personal service and knowledge. If you are not 100% satisfied with the quality of our service, we will do whatever is necessary to achieve your satisfaction.
Where to from here?
Contact us to find out how we can assist you.