Most people don’t like to think about death. However, if you don’t want to create problems for your loved ones when you pass away, it’s important for you to consider making a Will. In NSW, if you die without a Will, the state distributes your estate according to the Succession Act 2006. In the case that you don’t have any eligible recipients of your estate, the state will keep everything. You don’t want that to happen, do you?
What Can You Give?
You can only gift your personal assets to others. For example, if you have a house in your name, you can gift it to someone. However, if there is a trust held for your benefit, you can’t gift the money to someone else even though you may be entitled to it. For example, superannuation benefits cannot be given to someone in a Will as it is held in trust by the super fund. To rectify this situation, you will need to nominate someone to receive your superannuation benefits through your super fund or in some cases, you can make a binding death benefit nomination for superannuation death benefits in your Will.
Who Can You Gift?
You have the right to leave your assets to anyone upon your death. To avoid estate disputes, you should make sure that people close to you, including your spouse and dependants, are included in your Will. If you want to make a donation to a particular charity, you can do so by specifying that in your Will.
What Can You Specify In Your Will?
Apart from deciding who will receive your assets, you can also specify certain things in your Will. For example, you may like to provide instructions regarding funeral arrangements. If you have children, you may also specify the name of a guardian to look after your children.
Who Will Execute Your Will?
The executor of your Will is responsible for administering your estate and distributing your assets according to your Will. The executor can be anyone you can trust, such as your friends and family, a solicitor or accountant. You may choose to appoint more than one person to be your executor.
Review Your Will
Your circumstances may change. For example, getting married or divorced, having children or retiring from your job. It’s a good idea to review your Will on a regular basis to make sure that it represents your current wishes.
Can Someone Contest Your Will?
You can leave your assets to anyone. However, sometimes your friends and family may think that the Will isn’t fair. They may think that they’re not adequately provided for. They may file a family provision application with the court to contest the Will. You may want to express your intentions clearly when you make the Will to reduce the chance of any argument.
How Do You Make a Will?
Making a Will can be a simple process. In order to make a Will legal, it must be signed and witnessed. It is best to have a solicitor do your Will for you. Your solicitor can advise you on issues that you may need to take into account, such as tax issues, superannuation and family provision.
The content of this publication does not constitute legal advice and is intended only to provide a summary and general overview. We do not guarantee that it is current. You should seek specialist legal advice or other professional advice about your specific circumstances. Your access to this publication is not intended to create nor does it create a solicitor-client relationship between you and Unified Lawyers.