A will is a legal document that outlines what way you would like your assets distributed after you die. It also covers details such as who will look after your minor children, what your wishes are for your funeral and who you name as Executor (or Executors).

What if I don’t have a will? #

There are many disadvantages to not having a will.

If you die without a will, the court will be left to decide how your estate and assets are distributed. The court will appoint a trustee executor to distribute your assets, usually according to a strict, pre-determined legal formula. This may mean some of your preferred beneficiaries are excluded.

The court appointing an executoral so means there will be additional costs that must be covered by the estate, which will leave beneficiaries with less than they would have otherwise received.

Making a legally binding will, and keeping it up to date, will ensure the distribution of your assets, the care of your children and who performs key roles (e.g. executor, trustee etc) are those you have chosen to have in place.

When would I update my will? #

If your circumstances change, it is worth checking your will still outlines your wishes as they currently stand. Some examples of a change of circumstances are as follows:

  • Marriage or re-marriage: keep in mind that getting married will revoke any pre-existing wills.
  • Separation or divorce: keep in mind that depending on which state you live, getting divorced may revoke any pre-existing wills. In Western Australia, a divorce order will invalidate a will.
  • Entering into a serious de facto relationship or moving in with your partner.
  • Buying a home, investment property or other significant assets.
  • Buying or starting a business.

This list is definitely not exhaustive. Reassessing the validity and currency of your will on a reasonably frequent basis is sensible.

How can I make a will? #

Your options range from writing a will yourself, getting a pro-forma (usually available from your local post office), or employing the services of a professional. We always recommend seeking advice aboutand although we are not Legal Professionals, we are happy to help as you consider your options.