How Important is it to have a valid Will?
Did you know that at least 45% of Australians do not have a valid Will? Wills are not just for the elderly, they can also protect the interests and assets of people of any age.
Having a valid and up to date Will can help to reduce stress for your family and friends, limit the costs in administering your Estate and lessen the possibility for someone to challenge your Estate.
What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document that stipulates your wishes as to who will receive your property and possessions when you pass away. It is important that you have a valid Will to ensure your Estate is distributed to those you wish.
Who can make a Will?
Anyone over the age of 18 years old that has mental capacity. You can change your Will as many times as you like whilst you have capacity.
What happens if you pass away without a Will?
If a person dies in Victoria or New South Wales, then that person is described under the law as dying intestate. There is a standard order contained in The Probate and Administration Act 1958 (VIC) and The Succession Act 2006 (NSW) that distributes your estate regardless of your wishes. This order is:
4. Siblings (if predeceased, then to any surviving niece or nephew)
6. Aunts and Uncles (if predeceased, then to any surviving cousin).
If no eligible relative can be found, your estate will pass to the State Trustees.
Who should I appoint as my executor?
Your executor will be responsible for administering your estate after you pass away. Your Executor must be over 18 years of age and can also be a beneficiary. You should appoint someone that you trust who is familiar with your affairs. You should nominate more than one Executor or a second choice in case your first choice predeceases you or is not able or willing to act.
Why should I have a lawyer draft my Will?
The "Do-It-Yourself Forms" or the "Free Online Will Kits” will cause problems down the track, especially if someone tries to contest the Will. It is important to seek proper legal advice to ensure your wishes are complied with.
For advice and assistance in preparing a valid Will, please call Cosgriff Lawyers on (03) 5480 6344.