Around 60% of us don’t have Wills. What a mess we can leave. Not to mention fights over badly made Wills.
If you don’t have a Will, your family won’t know your wishes, and your property will be divided by law, which may not be what you want. You have no control over who administers your estate. If you have no relatives your estate will go to the Crown, while you may prefer friends, and/or charities.
A Will must be written, signed and witnessed in a certain way. You must have capacity, so it is no good waiting until you are gaga!
Failure to observe these rules may render your Will invalid. The law allows the Court to make an order declaring a Will valid if it is satisfied that it expresses the deceased person’s testamentary intentions, but requires application to the High Court, which is expensive, time-consuming, and success is not guaranteed.
People can bring a claim against your estate if they consider that proper provision has not been made for them. These could be folk who consider they have been promised something when you die; disgruntled family members who believe they have not been left enough or have been left out; and de facto partners and their children.
Your Will should not gather dust. It should be reviewed every few years, especially if your family or financial circumstances change. Separation does not revoke a Will, but marriage and civil union does, unless the Will is made in contemplation of marriage.
Don’t try and make your own Will. It may seem a simple matter but there are a number of extremely important legal issues to be considered.
This is not intended to be legal advice. If you have any concerns about making a Will, see your lawyer.
Article | Alan Clark.
Photo | Alan and Jeremy Clark.