What would happen if you died without leaving a Will today?
Each year thousands people die without leaving a Will and all too often this creates more worries, expense and sometimes hardship for the family of the deceased at a time of bereavement.
Think about it now, what would happen to your family and loved ones if you were to die without a Will?
When a person dies without making a Will (the legal term for this is a person dying “intestate”), then their assets are dealt with according to a set formulae contained in state specific legislation. The formulae set out by the legislation is strictly applied and does not take into account your personal preferences or wishes.
You can avoid this scenario by making a Will which will give you control over how your estate is distributed.
How do I make a Will?
To be valid, your Will needs to be in writing, signed by you and witnessed by two people who are not benefitting from your Will.
You will need to appoint a trusted person as an Executor. This person (or persons) will be responsible for carrying out your wishes under your Will. You can appoint your solicitor to take on this role as an impartial party, but be aware that they would likely charge a fee for their services.
You will need to specify your beneficiaries. These are the people who you want to receive assets under your Will.
Review your Will regularly
Even if you do have a Will, you should take steps to review it regularly.
This is even more pertinent if you have recently married or divorced (which may automatically terminate your Will), or you have entered into a de facto relationship (which may become an issue if you die intestate as your de facto partner may be entitled to a share of your estate under state intestacy laws) or have since had children.
Similarly, if someone named in your Will has since passed on, or if assets named in your Will no longer exist, you will need to update your Will.
Creating your own Will
Creating your own Will is a simple and inexpensive process.
In most cases, Wills are a relatively straightforward matter, and you can put your own legal Will in place without the assistance of a solicitor.
You can access a legal Last Will and Testament Legal Kit here
If your situation is complex, then we recommend you seek assistance from a solicitor.
If you intend to distribute assets in a way which may be controversial among your family members or which may cause a family member to challenge your Will, we recommend you seek the advice of a solicitor suitably experienced in Wills and estates who can put into place extra security measures to safeguard your Will from any potential challenges. This may be the case, for example, if you are purposely leaving adult children out of your Will.
Its recommended you review your Will every couple of years. Click here To download your Last Will and Testament Kit Now
By Ian MacLeod