Wills & Estate Planning

Your Will is the most important document you will ever sign

Have you looked at yours recently?

A will enables you to set out exactly what you want to happen to your hard earned assets after your death. No other document can do this with any certainty.

Every person over the age of 18 should have a will, unless they have no assets and no dependents.
  • You have worked hard for your assets.
  • You want to provide for your immediate family.
  • You may have children from different relationships.
  • You may want to favour one or more people in your will to the detriment of others.
  • You would rather your money go to charity after your death than to any distant relatives.
  • You have young children and want to have your say as to who would be their guardian if something happened to both parents.

The only way you can have any certainty is by having a properly prepared will and estate planning advice.

What happens if I do not have a will when I die?

You will die intestate. This means you have left no will, or that your will was old and that the beneficiaries in the will had died before you (or at the same time). The law then determines who gets your assets, and it’s an ‘all or nothing’ approach. We detail more information about dying without a will and the implications of that here.

That is if that category of relation is alive, they will receive the whole of your estate. If you want to split your assets between a sibling and a parent, the laws of intestacy do not permit this.

If there are no relatives (spouse, parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews) then your assets are likely to end up going to the government.

Even if you would prefer to donate your assets to charity, it is best to have a will to ensure your assets go where you want them to.

When should I have a will or review it?

  • Any significant change in your asset position (but not every time you buy and sell property)
  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Death of an executor or beneficiary
  • When you have children
  • Commencement/end of a de facto relationship

Can I do it myself?

Of course you can do it yourself. But drafting a will is not as easy as it seems. The law tells us what makes a valid will. Minor inconsistencies can be interpreted multiple ways which may make the will invalid or require rectification by the court, which add additional costs and time to the administration of your estate.

Anyone can write a will, however we do not just write wills, we advise you on your estate planning requirements, which includes advice on:

  • how to minimise claims on your estate;
  • potential ways of maximising the benefit of your estate to your beneficiaries;
  • how certain gifts can be problematic;
  • how superannuation and insurance fit within your estate plan.

If you engage an accountant to do your taxes, then why would you do your own will?