C + K Family Lawyers welcomes the opportunity to assist you with the Will making process. A Will is a legal document that outlines what you would like to happen with your money, belongings and other assets (your estate) when you pass away. Your Will specifies who you want to give your estate to (your beneficiaries) and who you would like to administer your estate when you pass away (your executor).
Why do you need a Will?
You need to plan for the future and having a current Will is the only way to guarantee that your estate goes to family or friends of your choice after you pass away. Having a valid and current Will also helps reduce the stress for your family and friends as it limits the costs to administer your estate and and can sometimes lessen the possibility of disputes over your estate.
What happens if you pass away without a Will?
If you pass away without having a valid Will in place, this means you pass away “intestate”. The ramifications of this are:-
- Your assets will be distributed according to the Queensland laws of intestacy (more information can be found in Part 3 of the Succession Act 1981 – hyperlink to https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEG…ionA81.pdf
- There is no guarantee that your assess will be distributed as you would have wanted
- Your family or friends may not be provided for as you wished
- It can take more time and money to finalise your estate
Who can make a Will?
To make a valid Will, you must be at least 18 years of age, of sound mind, memory and understanding. To be a valid Will, it must be in writing and signed by you in the presence of two witnesses, both of whom must be over 18 years of age, cannot be visually impaired and should not be included as beneficiaries in the Will.
Do you need to update your Will?
You can amend your Will as often as you like. You should however review your Will at least every three to five years to ensure it still reflects your wishes.
You may need to update your Will if:-
- you get married
- you start a de facto relationship
- you start a civil partnership (previously called a registered relationship)
- you get divorced or your marriage is annulled
- you end a de facto relationship
- you end a civil partnership (previously called a registered relationship) or it is voided
- your children or grandchildren or any other persons you want to include as beneficiaries in your Will are born
- your assets or financial circumstances change
- any person named as a beneficiary in your Will pass away
- any person named as an executor, trustee or guardian in your Will passes away or becomes unable or unwilling to act due to age, ill-health or any other reason
- you want to change your beneficiaries, executors, trustees or guardians named in your Will
- you retire
If you get married or start a civil partnership, your Will is officially cancelled by that marriage or civil partnership, except where it makes a gift to your spouse or civil partner or nominates them as an executor, trustee or guardian, unless your Will is shown to have been made with marriage or a civil partnership in mind.
Divorce does not officially cancel your Will, but it cancels any provision made in favour of your former spouse, as well as any appointment of that former spouse as an executor, trustee or guardian.
Ending your civil partnership or finding that your civil partnership is void does not officially cancel your Will, but it cancels any provision made in the will in favour of your former civil partner, as well as any appointment of that former civil partner as an executor, trustee or guardian.