It was time to to get all of our legal documents sorted out – our Wills, Power of Attorneys, Executors and Advance Directives. We felt overwhelmed by the process and were concerned that it was going to be cost prohibitive. My lawyer was very helpful & knowledgeable. The services were of fine quality and the response time was short.
It is difficult to think about end-of-life services. It is emotionally challenging, and we feel we have all the time in the world. However, one must address these issues to ease the potential burden on your loved ones and avoid known pitfalls that may face your family throughout their lives.
You need to ensure that the appropriate steps have been taken to protect your family.
A will is a legal document that comes into effect when you die. It outlines what you would like to happen to your estate (property, money and belongings).
To be a valid will, it must be both:
- in writing, either handwritten or typed
- dated and signed in front of two, preferably independent, witnesses who are not beneficiaries.
Read more on What is a Will?
What is a beneficiary?
A will identifies the people you want to give your estate (property, money and belongings) to. These people are known as beneficiaries.
What is an Executor?
A will also names the person(s) that you want to be in charge of your estate. The executor of a Will is responsible for protecting the assets of the estate & carrying out the wishes of a person after they die (within the terms of the will).
Why do I need a will?
A will is the only thing that ensures your money, property and personal belongings go to the people who YOU want to receive them.
A will can also be utilised to:
- name guardians of your children or other dependants
- establish a trust to provide for your children and other dependants
- donate money to charity
- outline specific funeral instructions.
What if I die without a will?
This is known as dying intestate (or partly testate if part of the will is still valid).
Your estate will be divided up according to the law, however this process can be complicated and cumbersome. Firstly, a suitable administrator must be appointed by the Supreme Court in your state. The administrator must then establish the family tree using certificate evidence, which may be an extremely expensive and time-consuming task depending on who are the next-of-kin or if they live overseas.
The beneficiaries you intend to pass your assets to in your 20’s may be very different to your beneficiaries in your 40’s, which again may be very different to your 60’s, and so on.