It is estimated that around 50% of all Australians do not have a will. When they pass, the management of their estate goes to the state or the next of kin. But, what happens if you want more control over what happens to your assets when you die?
One way is to create a will. Read on as we tell you everything you need to know about making a will in Australia.
None of us can predict the future. Even the healthiest and safest of individuals can have accidents or unforeseen circumstances. If you have assets and people you want to leave them to, then regardless of age you should consider writing a will.
You can legally create a will when you turn 18. However, many people do not have the assets or desired beneficiaries, such as children, at this age.
Other than this, you need to consider it when you have assets. These may be in the form of property, shares, or capital. Of course, the level of assets differs depending on the individual circumstances.
In Queensland, should you die without a will you are known as intestate. Based on the circumstances of your death, the Succession Act of 1981 sets out what will happen to your estate. A Public Trustee will become responsible for the estate unless someone else is granted Letters of Administration.
The Public Trustee will be in charge of the deceased estates. This is a self-funding authority based in Queensland. They have 16 offices throughout the state all dealing with the assets of deceased persons.
A Letter of Administration is granted by the Supreme Court of Queensland. It gives the person the authority to oversee the estate of a deceased. It is usually granted to the surviving spouse, children, or other family members.
In summary, if you die without a will, the administration of it either passes to your next of kin or the state. This means you have no say over how and where it is handed out.
What you decide to stipulate in a legal will is entirely down to you. One of the benefits of creating a will with a legal professional is that they can help and advise you, using their prior experience.
The most common inclusion many people have is to include the name of their children. You may wish to split assets between them or stipulate who will receive certain parts of it. Should you have any pets you need taking care of, this can also be stated.
A will can also be used to establish a trust. You can use this to benefit a specific young person or a charitable cause. It can also be used to give donations to philanthropic organisations.
Finally, you can use it to express wishes for your funeral arrangements. These may be financially or with regard to how the service is conducted. You can also grant the Enduring Powers of Attorney to a given person to handle the estate for you when you pass.
There are a number of times in life when you should consider updating your will. Generally, these are when you have major changes in your finances and relationships.
When you marry or enter a new long term relationship, it could be a good time to update your will. Conversely, divorce or separation may also be a time to update. Other than this, when children or grandchildren are born you may want to include them.
Another time is when your financial standing may change. You may gain assets or sell them so they are no longer applicable. If you already have a will with a stated beneficiary or executor who passes away, you may also want to it.
A will in Queensland is legal when a document gets signed and dated in front of two witnesses. They must be over 18 years of age and neither of them can benefit from it or know someone who shall benefit. Therefore, you can create a will on your own.
This is not recommended, however. A will is often far more complicated than stating what you will leave behind and to who. Should you not have direct, correct legal terminology the will may become misconstrued in a number of ways.
When hiring a lawyer to create your will, it helps to find one specialising in family law. Writing a will is very seldom a straightforward process. Different children, marriages, and varied assets can make it complicated.
Finding a wills and estates lawyer with experience will ensure you get peace of mind. The process remains simple for those benefiting when the time comes.
When you come to us for your Wills and Enduring Power of Attorney documents, we provide a fixed fee service. This means you won't suffer from hidden charges later down the line or find the initial fee slowly rising once the process starts.
We often have additional specials for seniors and pensioner cardholders. Message our friendly staff for information on fixed fees for wills and let us know about your circumstances for quotes.
Now that you know about creating a will in Australia and Queensland, think about what you want from it. Do you have specific needs or requests? Once you have them in mind, contact a lawyer for peace of mind.
Koolik & Associates Lawyers are experts in local family law. We serve clients in Queensland, interstate, and overseas with a will, estates, and conveyancing law. Contact us here to discuss your needs.
Please note the contents of this post is information only and not legal advice.
If you require legal advice it is best to contact one of our lawyers who can review your particular circumstances and then provide tailored advice according to your needs.