Many adult Australians die without leaving a valid Will. This can lead to serious issues and hamper efficient administration of a person’s Estate.
It seems that Australians either do not have the time to make Wills, or do not understand the importance of having a Will.
If you die without a Will, and leave an estate, your next of kin will need to apply to the Supreme Court (in the relevant State) in order to obtain the Court’s permission to distribute the estate via a legislated prescribed formula. This formula for distributing the deceased’s estate may not accord with what the deceased had intended. Therefore, if one wishes to distribute his or her estate in a particular way, then it is important to make those provisions whilst one is alive through an effective Will.
An effective Will also allows for the appointment of nominated executors to administer the estate. This way trusted individuals or experienced corporate trustees can be chosen to deal with, and manage, the estate.
Any one over the age of 18 years and who is of sound mind can make a Will.
There are some formal requirements in making a will, prescribed by legislation, which include:
- It must be in writing;
- It must be signed by the person making the Will (“the testator”);
- The testator’s signature must be witnessed by two witnesses; and
- The witnesses must sign the Will in the presence of the testator and each other.
If the formal requirements of the Will are not strictly adhered to, then the Will may be deemed to be invalid, in which case it may completely undo what the testator intended.
A Will can contain provisions in respect of the distribution of any real and personal property which in most cases includes all property that a testator will own. It can also contain provisions in respect of funeral arrangements and preferences for the disposal of the testator’s body. If there are any minor children, then a guardian can be appointed in the Will. The Will also can make provision that your funeral expenses and debts be paid out from the estate before it is distributed to the intended beneficiaries.
The other benefit is that you can appoint a trusted person as your executor to administer the estate on your behalf.
We at Duffy & Simon can assist you with all of your needs in the preparation of your Will and ensure you that your estate is distributed in the way you intend it to be distributed, please call us on (03) 5941 1622 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.