Your ‘Will’ is a legal document that tells the world what you want to happen to your estate after you’re gone.
Your ‘estate’ is everything you own or control. It can include real estate, bank accounts, investments, shares, insurances, superannuation, vehicles, personal possessions and all manner of other assets.
It can also include intangible assets like goodwill, royalties, intellectual property and various legal rights.
The main goal of making a Will is usually to direct how your estate can benefit your loved-ones. Other goals may include: asset protection (from gold-diggers, creditors & predators); tax minimisation; provision for guardians for minors and providing for a partner when they might become incapacitated through old age.
‘Capacity’ is the ability to make decisions in your own best interests. It can be affected (or lost) from senility, dementia, Alzheimer’s, stroke, illness, pain & medication.
If you die without a Will, you die intestate. This means that Government of the State where you resided will determine how your estate is to be managed and distributed.
Every State and territory in Australia has a statutory formula to determine who will get your estate. These formulas vary from place to place and from time to time. Sometimes the Government itself will end up with your hard-earned assets!
Dying intestate (without a valid Will) means:
- you do not have a say about who will benefit from your estate, for example, your assets could be shared with relatives who you do not wish to benefit;
- you do not have a say about who is charged with the role of administering and making final decisions about your estate;
- your estate may take an extended period of time to settle (more than 12 months);
- the cost to settle your estate may be significantly more than if you had written a Will at first instance.
A Will that is clearly written and up to date can:
- define who you would like to take on the role of executor to administer your estate;
- aid your executor in understanding how you would like your affairs managed;
- help ensure all your assets, including property and other possessions, are distributed in accordance with your wishes;
- set out the beneficiaries (individuals or organisations), you want to benefit from your estate;
- appoint a guardian for your minor children and outline any wishes for how they should be brought up;
- reduce any potential conflict relating to your estate after your death by clearly stating your wishes;
- help to enable your estate to be settled quickly and with ease.
Your Will Does More Than Distribute Property
A Will can do much more than just distribute assets. For example, it can:
- name alternate or substitute executors to wrap up your estate, in case something happens to your first choice before they can finish the job;
- name guardians and trustees for your children and their property until they are mature enough to handle things for themselves;
- create protective trusts for your children or other young beneficiaries, specifying how and when their funds are to be invested and distributed;
- create special disability trusts for beneficiaries with recognised special needs;
- forgive debts;
- reduce potential family conflict;
- grant rights and access to data and information about you that could be needed by (or valuable to) your loved-ones.
A well-drafted Will that clearly lays out your wishes may reduce conflict and speculation over what you “would have” wanted. This is more important than ever with the increased numbers of ‘blended families’ where partners in a second or subsequent relationship have children from prior relationships.
A Will Must Meet Strict Legal Requirements
When you make a Will, you have to adhere to strict legal requirements. Wills are formal documents that must be signed by the Testator (Will-maker) and two independent adult witnesses who are not related to you by birth or marriage and who won’t get anything from the Will. You also must have “testamentary capacity” when you make your Will. This is why it is important to not put-off making your Will. Once you have lost your capacity, it may be too late.
Beware Homemade Wills
Most people wouldn’t dream of installing their own toilet or air-conditioner. They know that it is important to use trained professional to get it right.
But when to comes to the most important legal document in their (and their family’s) life, some people are willing to ‘have a go’ at creating their own Will. It is very easy to make disastrous errors in a Will if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Homemade Wills can be a LOT more expensive than you might think. It’s like DIY surgery – you can try it, but is it wise? “Anyone can construct a Will” they say, “It’s easy and it’s cheap”.
But in truth, it’s more like trying to remove one of your own kidneys. There are lots of risks and hidden dangers, which are not well understood, and won’t become obvious until AFTER you’ve died.
A Modern Convenient Solution That is Not Expensive
Will-making is a specialised area of law. It is a very worthwhile investment to use the services of a senior experienced lawyer who specialises in Wills and estates. This doesn’t have to be expensive or inconvenient.
One of the oldest law firms in Australia (founded 1848) – and which specialises in Wills and estates – is offering a fixed-fee Remote Will service to all Australian residents over the age of 18 years, anywhere in Australia.
A senior Australian lawyer who specialises in Wills & estates will confer with you personally and confidentially via Skype on your computer, smartphone or tablet. You’ll be in the privacy of your own home or office – no travel or parking required. After-hours appointments are available.
The lawyer will spend 45-90 minutes with you asking questions, giving advice and taking your instructions. Then within 2 business days you’ll receive via email your carefully drafted Will – specific and unique to you – together with a clear and easy-to-follow checklist on how to execute (sign) it, to make it valid and binding throughout Australia.
No mess, no fuss – and all for a single low fixed fee.
That’s convenience, peace-of-mind and cost-effectiveness all wrapped-up together in a neat package. It’s called Remote Will, by Genders and Partners Lawyers (established 1848).
To learn more about how to help you protect yourself, your family and your assets, visit https://www.genders.com.au/free-phone-consultation/
SPECIAL REPORT “7 Things You Must Know Before You Make Your Will”
In this report you will Learn:
Why home-made Wills can be a LOT more expensive than you might think.
The secret weapons used by the rich & powerful to protect their assets, and transfer their wealth two or three generations ahead.
How Estate and Trustee Companies make BIG money from “free” Wills.
The Most Common Estate Planning Mistakes, how they can cost your family a fortune, and How to Avoid Them.
The Elements of a Sound Estate Plan – why a Will alone is not enough.
How to Make Sure Your Assets Stay in Your Family and are not lost to creditors, lawsuits or ex-spouses.
How to guard against challenges to your Estate after you’re gone.