Do you have or need a Will?

Do you have a will? Do you know what will happen if you die without a will? These are questions that not many people choose to consider but it will create a lot of headaches and possibly loss of money for your family members if you do not have a will. A will, even a simple one, needs to be completed and witnessed properly to be valid. There are strict formalities that need to be followed for a will to be valid.

Did you know that under certain circumstances a minor can make a will? Also, if you were married and have now separated your current will is not revoked until such time as the marriage is terminated, usually by divorce. You should not move on with your life without considering the need to review your will or even to make your first will in these circumstances.

You will also need to consider who you wish to act as your Executor(s). You should choose at least two persons, preferably younger than you so that you do not find yourself in the situation where your nominated executors pre-decease you. It may be the case that your executors may choose not to be involved in the distribution of your estate and can pass this responsibility to another person such as a solicitor. So you need to make certain that the people you choose are willing to take on that responsibility.

What is probate? This is registration of the will of a deceased by the executors which proves the will is valid. This provides the executors with the authority to gather in the assets (and determine the liabilities) and distribute the net asset pool as per the instructions in the will.

Not all wills require probate. For example if there are limited and joint assets such as a small bank account in the name of the deceased and their partner, generally probate will not be required.

Have you thought about whether you would like any assets to go to other family members in the circumstances where a child may pre-decease you? Also, if there are no living relatives at your death, are there any charities to whom you would like to make a bequest?

Do you have an existing will? Bring it in so we can have a look at it and advise whether it has been drafted to effectively cover all of your circumstances.

Is one of your beneficiaries likely to be in receipt of Centrelink benefits. Any inheritance under your will could have an effect on their benefit entitlements.

Do you have a blended family with a new partner, step children and/or children from previous relationships? There are many options with distributing the estate in these situations and these will depend on your particular circumstances including the form of any home ownership, i.e., joint tenancy or tenants in common.

There is a lot to consider when making your will – we suggest you come in and see us for a no obligation, $50 first interview so we can assist you with answers to these questions.