What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document which provides direction as to how you wish your assets (such as personal property, family home, bank accounts and insurance policies) to be distributed upon your death. Your estate is administered by an executor who will be responsible for your property and for payment of all outstanding debts and taxes from the estate funds and for distributing the net assets of your estate to the beneficiaries you have nominated in your will.
Do I have to make a Will?
Whilst there is no legal obligation to make a will, it is of the upmost importance, no matter the extent of your assets (modest or great) to ensure that your family members and loved ones are properly provided for upon your passing and to reduce the likelihood of estate disputes occurring. Properly structured, a will can also minimise the impact of tax on the next generation.
Any person 18 years of age or older and of sound mind can make a will.
Given the complexities of the law and wills being prone to contest, it is important that you seek professional advice as to drafting your will and broader considerations of estate planning. Our team has the years of experience to ensure that your estate plan leaves nothing to chance and to minimise the possibility of financial and legal problems.
What happens if you do not make a Will?
If you do not have a will you will die intestate (which means without a will or a valid will). Your family and friends will have to decide who should be the best person to administer the estate (known as the Administrator).
Your Administrator will be required to distribute your estate according to rigid formulae set down by the laws of intestacy and in accordance with the Succession Act 1981 which may not necessarily accord with what you would have wished.
By making a will in Queensland, you may also save your estate unnecessary legal fees that may be incurred as a result of having to appoint an Administrator of the estate.
When should I review or update my Will?
It is important that, once you have made a will in Queensland, you regularly review the will to ensure it reflects your wishes. We recommend you review your will as a matter of course every few years or on the happening of any of the following events:
- Death of any beneficiary
- Death of your executor
- Birth of any child or grandchildren;
- Changes to your financial circumstances; and or
- Marriage, Divorce or separation.
You are free at any time to alter your will unless you have contractual arrangements in place preventing changes (such as mutual will provisions). If you wish to alter your Will or your marital circumstances change, we recommend you contact our wills and estate planning team to advise you accordingly.