Why make a Will?
It’s certainly not an easy topic to think about, but what would happen to your family if you died? Would your partner be able to meet the mortgage repayments without your contributions? Have you agreed on a suitable guardian for your minor children? Planning for the future might be scary, but it is also something that every adult needs to consider and make arrangements for. Trust us – you will feel much better once you have your affairs in order.
At Stone Group Lawyers, we regularly advise clients on all aspects of estate planning, from setting up testamentary trusts for your beneficiaries, distributing your assets, dealing with superannuation and life insurance, and appointing guardians for your minor children.
By making a Will, you can direct how your property is to be distributed following your death.
If you die without a Will, the laws of intestacy will apply to your Estate. This means that your assets may be sold to satisfy debts and will be shared among your relatives. If a deceased is survived by their spouse and children, their spouse will receive the household chattels (furniture, whitegoods etc.), the first $150,000 of the Estate and either half or a third of the residue of the Estate (depending on the make-up of your family). The children will receive the balance of the Estate equally between them. This can be problematic where you have recently separated from a spouse, have estranged relationships with any of your children, have remarried and have step-children, or wish to make particular provisions for certain family members.
Dying without a Will means that your family members will need to apply for Letters of Administration and each stake their claim for an interest in your Estate. This will be heard in the Supreme Court of Queensland, and can be a slow, expensive process for your family members to endure when they are already grieving your death. Your family members may also struggle to agree on how your Estate should be administered, which could lead to unwanted disputes between family members. This is not a pleasant experience and not one that you would wish to impose on anyone. It is far easier to draft a Will with comprehensive instructions to your executors on how and to who your Estate should be left.
A Will gives you the opportunity to appoint your trusted friends or family members to act as the Executor of your Estate. Your Executors will:
- handle your funeral arrangements;
- manage all your assets;
- pay off any debts;
- apply to the Court for a Grant of Probate (if required); and
- distribute your assets to beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of your Will.
Often people try to avoid engaging a lawyer to assist them in drafting a Will and instead opt for a ‘do-it-yourself will kit’. These documents can be problematic, especially if they include provisions which are not sufficiently certain, or they are not completed correctly. There are legal requirements to comply with when making a Will, and if such formalities are not in place, legal costs could be incurred by your estate to prove that your Will is in fact a true representation of your testamentary wishes. The process of proving a homemade Will can be more expensive and time consuming than it would have been to engage a lawyer from the beginning.
If you do not already have a Power of Attorney or an Advance Health Directive in place, then we can assist you in drafting these as well.
Book your complimentary 45 minute consultation today.