A Will is a legal document that sets out who you want to receive your assets when you die. Making a Will is the only way you can ensure your assets will be distributed according to your wishes when you die.

If you die without a Will, you die intestate. This means, as you didn’t have a Will, no one knows who you wanted as your beneficiaries and who you wanted as executor of your estate. Your assets will be distributed according to a common standardised formula with certain family members receiving a defined percentage of your assets despite what you may have wished. Dying without a Will can be costly and creates added stress for loved ones at an already difficult time.

What goes in a Will?

The basic information necessary for preparing your will includes:

Your full name, address and date of birth

  • Appointment of an Executor (the person you wish to manage your affairs once you die)
  • Executor’s full name, address and relationship to you (as well as an alternative executor if the appointed executor expires before you).
  • Appointment of a Trustee (if you plan on leaving funds or assets to children or someone who is disabled or without capacity, the Trustee is the person you wish to manage the trust set up in your will on behalf of the children or disabled/impaired beneficiary).
  • Trustee’s full name, address and relationship to you (as well as an alternative if the appointed trustee expires before you).
  • Appointment of a Guardian (the person you wish to take care of your children once you die and if there is no surviving spouse)
  • Guardian’s full name, address and relationship to you (as well as an alternative if the appointed guardian expires before you).
  • Instructions of how you would like your remains disposed of.
  • Details of who you would like to leave your estate to (beneficiaries) and their full name, address and relationship to you.
  • Details of anyone who might have a claim on your estate (i.e. children from a previous relationship) and specifically state any reasons why they are not receiving anything in your will (as this will help defend any claims against your estate by those mentioned people.
Dying intestate can result in your surviving spouse, family and friends suffering unnecessary financial hardship and emotional stress. If you are in a de-facto or same sex relationship, it is necessary to supply sworn evidence that the relationship existed. If you die intestate and have no surviving relatives closer than cousins, the State Government will claim your estate. Prevent the State deciding the distribution of your estate and prepare your will today.