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What is a Will

What is a Will?

A will is a specifically drafted document that directs how you wish to distribute your assets upon your death.  If you do not have a Will at the time of your death, the rules of intestacy apply and your estate may not be divided in accordance with your wishes.

There are various types of Wills, including:-

1.    Simple Wills for a husband and wife or single person;
2.    Complex Wills;
3.    Mutual Wills; and
4.    Special Wills, including dealing with assets outside Australia or a Statutory Will for a child/personal without capacity.

Seniors’ Law @ Rennicks can provide advice on the most appropriate Will to accord with your personal circumstances.

 

Considerations for your Will

1.    Executor(s)

Your Executor is the person(s) that you appoint to administer your Will.  Many people appoint their spouse or children (or both) as Executors.  However, others choose to appoint their accountant, bank manager or solicitor as Executor.  The decision is ultimately yours and should be made on the basis of who you believe will best carry out your wishes as set out in your Will.

You may wish to include a Clause in your Will to direct that your Executor be paid commission (up to a maximum of 5% of the gross value of the assets of your estate).  You should also be aware of specific provisions dealing with the cost of your solicitor or accountant in acting as the Executor of your estate. 

2.     Guardians

Many people with young children appoint a Guardian when preparing their Will to reflect their wishes of who they want to look after their infant children in the event of death.

3.     Gifts/Bequests
       

You may consider including the following in your Will:-

3.1   From your engagement ring to the old chesterfield chair, you may wish to gift family heirlooms to specific family members.
3.2   Many people wish to make specific bequests in their Will to various charities or organisations, such as the Cancer Council, the Lost Dogs Home, the RSPCA or the Australian Ballet.
3.3   You may wish to devise property to a specific individual (such as devising your house to your spouse) upon your death.
3.4   You may wish to insert a Clause in your Will to forgive a debt upon your death.

4.     Beneficiaries    

Your residuary beneficiaries receive the residue of your estate after taking out all testamentary expenses and dealing with your specific gifts as mentioned above.  In electing beneficiaries for inclusion in your Will, you may wish to consider providing a life interest (i.e. your spouse is able to live in your family home until their death or until such time as they remarry) or the right for one of your beneficiaries to reside in the family home for a certain period of time.

This part of your Will also deals with mentally or physically handicapped beneficiaries and how their entitlement of your estate is to be dealt with.

Electing the beneficiaries of your Will is important as unequal division between children and/or family members may expose your estate to challenges against your Will, which can cause great expense to your estate.

5.     Other Considerations

Other considerations for your Will include:-

5.1   How you wish to dispose of your body (i.e. cremation and scattering of ashes or burial); and

5.2   Organ donation.

When should you change your Will?

You should regularly review your Will (every four to five years) to ensure that it accords with your wishes.  You should particularly consider updating your Will when there is a significant event in your life or the life of your loved ones, including:-

1.     Births;
2.     Deaths;
3.     Marriages; and
4.     Divorces.

For further information, please contact Seniors’ Law @ Rennicks on 13 000 RENNICKS (1300 073 664) or email seniorslaw@rennicks.com.au