A will is a legal document that states your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets and the care of any children. If you die without a will, those wishes may not be carried out. Further, your heirs may end up spending additional time, money, and emotional energy to settle your affairs after you're gone.
There is no one answer about how to do your Will. It all depends on your assets, your circumstances and who your beneficiaries will be. Wills can vary in their effectiveness, depending on the type, though no document will likely resolve every issue that arises after your death. Below we go through some of the things that you need to consider when looking to make a will.
You need to make a will that makes your wishes clear, that avoids confusion and conflict amongst your loved ones, and that is legally valid and binding. Doing this will protect your family and friends from costly and stressful legal disputes.
If you have property in your own name (including superannuation) or children, you need a Will to legally set out your wishes for distributing your estate upon your death. Our lawyers are experienced in Wills and Estate Planning and are fully qualified to give you the appropriate advice about your options and to prepare a Will for you.
Who will be your Executors?
Your Executors have the legal and administrative task of sorting out your assets and debts after you die and making sure that your wishes as outlined in the Will are upheld.
Who will be your beneficiaries and what effect will their inheritance have on their circumstances?
You can designate anyone as a beneficiary and distribute your assets in any way you like, however if you don’t provide for your family and dependents, your will can be contested and your hard won assets used on litigation fees.
You also should consider the effects that an inheritance may have on your beneficiaries. In some cases a testamentary trust can sidestep potential taxation problems, so it’s important that you get specific advice about your situation.
How do you know a Will is valid?
To be valid, the person making the Will must be mentally competent, the Will must be correctly signed and witnessed, and show no evidence of tampering. The witnesses to the Will cannot be beneficiaries, or related to beneficiaries and must be over 18.
If there is any doubt, or potential for dispute as to your mental competence, you should get a doctor’s confirmation of your capacity to make the will and include it with your Will.
How often should I review my Will?
You should certainly review your Will after any major events, such as marriage, divorce, property purchase or sale, death of a beneficiary or if your assets change significantly. We also recommend that you take a look at your Will every couple of years just to make sure that it is still the best instrument for you and for your family.
We can help
We know the potential pitfalls, and will ask you all the right questions to make sure that you have considered every possibility. We can advise you as to whether you would be best with a Will or a Testamentary Trust. We can design your Will in such a way to help protect your family from expensive estate litigation after your death and we can safely store your Will in our secure vault.
Petherick Cottrell Lawyers offer competitive rates on advising, drafting and executing Wills. We can also assist with advice in relation to trusts and power of attorney matters. In offering this service we are able to provide you with planning for the unexpected during your lifetime by appointing people you trust to make financial and personal decisions for you if you have an accident, become ill or incapacitated, as well as planning what will happen to your property upon your death. We are also able to offer advice and representation in estate litigation.
Protect your loved ones, contact us to discuss your particular situation and your family’s needs. Our costs on preparing a simple will are $180 plus GST (discount for pensioners).