Statistics show that almost half of all Australians die without making a will. But while it may be a difficult subject to discuss, it is a necessary step if you would like to ensure that assets are distributed as you desire.
Typically, a will will contain instructions on how a person’s assets should be distributed. It may also contain some lifestyle requests, such as nomination of guardians for children and burial or
funeral wishes. It may also contain timing of inheritances by use of trust structures where a third party is holding assets in ‘trusts’ for people.
Individuals should give serious thought about who they will choose to be the executor of their will. The executor will ensure that your wishes are enacted. Potential considerations include: age, relationship with family, complexity of your situation.
Certain assets cannot be dealt with through a will and some of these can account for a lot of a person’s health. The specifics of the following assets may require further attention and even some professional advice.
- Jointly-held assets
- Superannuation proceeds
- Life insurance policy
- Interest that a person has as an owner or beneficiary of a trust
You are able to write your own will, and this is a less expensive alternative compared to hiring a professional. However, you should remember that this is a legal document, therefore if it is not written properly or not executed properly, then it may be invalid.
Therefore, although DIY will kits are available, it is advisable to see professional assistance. You can always use an online kit, and then get it double checked by a professional who can confirm that it has been done properly.
Usually, anyone who is over 18 is able to create a will. However, they need to be of ‘sound mind’ which means that they should have the mental capacity to understand the document they are creating. The will then, must be in writing and must be signed by the owner of the will with two witnesses. The witnesses cannot be an heir or spouse.
Depending on the area you live in, there may be specific regulations and requirements which your will needs to abide by, so having a look at these before you start your will is important.