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20 August 2015
A Will is a legal document in which you state how you want your assets to be distributed after your death. A Will also allows you to choose an Executor who will be responsible for making sure your wishes are met.
There are many misunderstandings about Wills and the administration of deceased Estates. With the advent of “newsagent” and “post office” will kits and cheap online DIY kits, there is a misconception that Wills are merely a simple document to prepare. With the advent of the computer, printing has become easier, but this does not make it simpler.
Courts are filled with applications contesting estates because the Will was wrong, poorly drafted, prepared by someone ill prepared to draft a Will, using “kits” and pieces of scrap paper. Brevity does not necessarily equate with simplicity and getting it wrong can cost your estate dearly in legal fees to get it right.
The old adage, “a stitch in time, saves nine” is certainly true when making one of the most important document in your life about the transfer of your wealth to your loved ones or special people or charities in your life.
Any time is a good time to make a Will and plan for the future. Given that life is uncertain at the best of time, so is your family’s financial future without proper preparation in advance.
Given that a Will is recognised by law about how you wish your estate to be dealt with after you die, it is important that you give serious consideration to your Will being prepared at least once in your lifetime.
Being two absolute certainties in life, death and taxes, ideally you should keep your Will with your tax information, so you can check it every year when you do your tax return. This will make sure that your Will is reflecting your current wishes.
It is especially important for same sex partners to prepare a will, despite the recent changes in legislation that allow shared distribution of estates, as it is sometimes difficult to prove that the relationship was de facto.
Significant factors in your life that would require an up-date of your Will would be:
Failing to have a Will that does not accurately reflect your current situation and intentions can potentially make for a lot of problems for your family and chosen beneficiaries, for example, your children, partners and charities.
Consequences of not having a Will or a Will that is invalid means the law imposes a method of distribution of your assets. It is highly likely that this is not what you want.
In New South Wales the law takes into account the way you may normally wish your assets to be distributed but this may not always be true and by doing so it may lead to unintended results. This means your assets may go to people you don’t want to have them.
Betar Lawyers takes a considered approach to preparing your Will on the basis that it is your final Will. Whilst ensuring your present circumstances are looked at, we ensure that your Will is flexiabilie enough to take care of future foreseeable changes.
Under the Succession Law, a valid Will must be:
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