Written by Pippa Colman
A Will allows YOU to decide how your estate will be distributed on your death.
If you don’t have a proper Will then after your death, you are said to have died “intestate”. That means that the estate you leave will be divided according to the intestacy rules in the Succession Act v. what you might have wanted to happen.
But if you have signed a Will – a legally-binding document – then you have determined who will be your Executor and how your estate will be distributed. If you get advice from a Solicitor in preparing a Will, this will help to avoid / minimise disputes about your estate.
You can set out your wishes about who care for your children.
If after your death there is a dispute about who is to care for your children, a Court will take your wishes into account.
You get probate quicker.
If you have substantial money in the bank or shares, your Executor will have to get Probate. Probate is the Court’s recognition of a Will and recognises the authority of the named Executor to deal with the estate.
Having a Will, however, speeds up the Probate process.
If you die without a Will, then the Court will decide who to appoint to administer your estate, which can cause delays and disputes between the family you leave behind.
You decide who will wind up your estate (your Executor).
Your Executor carries out your wishes in your Will. They dispose of your body, collect your assets, pay your debts, distribute your estate, and tie up the loose ends including notifying all relevant authorities of your death.
You want to appoint someone who is honest, trustworthy, and organised. Remember to ask them if they will want to be your Executor. An Executor can renounce the role after your death, so we advise you to appoint more than one.
You can disinherit the people you don’t want to inherit.
Your estate is divided according to your Will. You can set out in your Will who will get specific items or shares in your estate.
You can change your mind.
You can change your Will at any time – provided you still have capacity. Adults are presumed to have the ability (capacity) to make a Will. Litigation about testamentary capacity after a death typically asserts that the Testator (will maker), was senile, demented, insane or unsound in their mind.
Life changes – births, deaths, marriages and divorce – in your family and friends may mean that it is appropriate to change your Will.
Lastly, we don’t know when we will die.
Some people procrastinate. Some people are simply unwilling to confront the fact that they will die. The best day to make a Will is TODAY.
At Pippa Colman & Associates Law Practice, we have lawyers who specialise in Wills and Estates. Please contact us today on 5458 9000, if you would like to discuss your Will or Estate matter.