Why Should I make a Will?

By Kerin Cotchett

Making a Will provides a legal direction to ensure that your assets and possessions are distributed as you direct and/or wish when you die. Should you die intestate (without making a Will ), your estate may be divided using a statutory formula that may not necessary reflect the decisions you had intended and as a consequence, cause undue hardship, and/or extra cost and delay for your family.

Can I prepare my own will?

It is advisable to have your Will professionally drafted. A Will must conform to strict legal requirements otherwise the Courts may decide it is not valid. If this is the case your assets will be distributed according to a predetermined formula and not as you intended.

Anyone who is not legally qualified risks making a mistake, creating uncertainty or losing opportunities for good estate planning mechanisms if they make a Will for themselves.1 Ambiguous wording is extremely common in home-made Wills and may result in substantial cost and delay in having the Supreme Court resolve the ambiguity. It is also essential to ensure that a Will is signed and witnessed properly, if it is not, it will be invalid.

What if I die without a will?

If you die intestate or your Will is rendered invalid, an Administrator appointed by the court arranges payment of your liabilities from your assets, then distributes the remainder, based on a pre-determined statutory formula, which may not be how you intended your assets to be distributed.

If you die intestate and don’t have any living relatives, your estate is paid to the state government.

If you are a sole company director and a sole shareholder and do not have a valid Will, your death may leave the company without any person properly authorised to manage the company immediately. See ASIC’s Information Sheet (INFO 73) The importance of sole company directors/shareholders having a will.

For more information please contact our Wills and Estate Team:

e: | p: 02 6206 1300

1. NSW Trustee and Guardian

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