A sound case for making a Will
Office phone: +61 (03) 9562 2662
Recently, the Australian Research Council funded a study titled “Having the last word: Will Making and Contestation in Australia”.
The research revealed that more than 40% of Australians do not have a Will, and even though about 53% of these people were planning to have one done, procrastination was the main reason for not having a current Will. Furthermore, in some ethnic communities like Russian, Sri Lankan and Chinese, making a Will was not a normative behaviour.
Making a Will is a relevant and important consideration during certain times in life where there is transition, significant change or trauma, such as marriage or cohabitation, having children, buying property, starting a business, before travelling, divorce, remarriage. Whether one is wealthy or old is not the only reason for making a Will. Fundamentally, a Will communicates to loved ones left behind, what the wishes and instructions of the person making the Will are, especially in relation to assets, income and children.
We have listed the following benefits for you to make your Will today.
- Death is a certainty: No one knows the future from today, and therefore it is important to have a Will prepared with your wishes and instructions. If you already have a Will, it may be a good time to review it.
- Stocktake of your assets: In the making of a Will, you will have to consider (a) what comprises your assets, whether cash, investments in shares, precious metal, property, business etc. (b) the details and whereabouts of your assets. (c) how you want to distribute your assets.
- Executor: This is someone you trust, whom you will appoint and state in your Will to be the Executor of your estate. This person will ‘look after’ your estate (and assets), engage a lawyer to make the probate application, sign paperwork, and basically ensure that your wishes and instructions in the Will are carried out. Anyone who passes away without a Will dies ‘intestate’ which can be challenging if say the children of the deceased end up fighting over who gets to be the Executor, or who gets what portion of the estate. The stress and costs associated with a situation of intestacy is easily avoided with the existence of a Will.
- Trustee: While the Executor executes your wishes and instructions in the Will, the Trustee comes onto the scene when your Will requires ongoing management of the assets and income of your estate towards say payment of expenses for children. The Executor and Trustee can be the same person or 2 different persons.
- Beneficiaries: You will be most satisfied to know that as a result of your Will, your wishes of who gets what of your estate and assets are carried out. For anyone who dies without a Will, the distribution of your assets is determined by the relevant law of the State or Territory, which may or may not align up with your wishes!
- Young children: Another appointment is that of a Guardian to look after your children who are not of independent age, and this person will ensure proper care, education, funding of the children’s needs. The Guardian can be the same person as the Executor or a different person, who will work with the Executor.
- Specific gifts: You can make specific gifts to individuals, of trophies, memorabilia, jewellery, furniture, cash and in fact, anything that you fancy.
- Pets: We have prepared Wills for clients who made provision for the continued care of their pets!
- Philanthropy and giving to charity: You can make donations in your Will to foundations, non-profit organisations, educational institutes, research organisations, as the opportunity for you to be charitable is endless.
- Funeral arrangements: In the ideal world, you should have notified your family about how you would like the memorial service and funeral to be conducted, whether you would like to be buried or cremated. If you would like to include these details in your Will, you are able to do so and can be ambiguous or detailed.
- Organ donation: You can also give instructions about the donation of your organs or tissues.
- Avoid a challenge: When we draft Wills for clients, we are careful to provide reasons for gifts, benefits or distribution, and especially if there is a particular person that has not been provided for. This is essential to avoid a potentially expensive and long drawn legal claim being made against your estate.
- Minimise stress: Death in a family can be highly stressful and traumatic. Loved ones left behind must deal with mourning your loss, while managing and handling funeral arrangements, sorting out personal and household effects, and the legal requirements for the distribution of your estate. A properly executed Will goes a long way to assist with the post demise experience that face your loved ones.
We encourage you to contact one of our friendly staff, to discuss your options, and then to put your estate in order by making one of these Wills.
If you wish to fill out the online Will questionnaire click this link and one of our friendly lawyers will review your information and then contact you to finalise your Will.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is not legal advice. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. We attempt to ensure that the Content is current, but we do not guarantee its currency. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the Content.