The Importance of a Valid Will
A Will is one of the most important documents that you will sign in your lifetime. Creating a valid Will is not as simple as most people think, and as a result we advise that it is not wise to utilise the ‘home-made’ or ‘newsagents’ Will. This document will state how you wish for you assets to be distributed after death, as well as other provisions such as the care of your children if they are under 18 and any other special requests. Simple mistakes, such as style of wording, signing incorrectly or not having the Will witnessed properly can cause a Will to be invalid. If your Will is not valid, it cannot be guaranteed that your final wishes will be carried out as you have requested.
In addition to the distribution of assets, a Will also covers certain other matters such as the appointment of executors, trustees and guardians of minors, the payment of debts and duties, trustee powers and duties and other provisions which will assist in the fulfilment of your wishes.
Some people may question the need for a Will and instead prefer to rely upon the rules of intestacy succession to dispose of their estates. Intestacy is a statutory method of distributing an estate in the event that someone dies without a valid Will. However, this may not be in accordance with your wishes.
If you pass away without a Will, the intestate applications process is more complex. The statutory provisions does not take into account any particular wishes or circumstances of the deceased. Unless, of course, the intention is that the partner and the children inherit the entire property in exactly the manner in which the provisions of the Wills Probate and Administration Act dictates.
However, even this intention can be affected since the entitlement of a de facto spouse on intestacy has arisen under the Wills Probate and Administration Act. This may result in the exclusion of the rights of a surviving spouse, leaving the spouse to his or her rights under the Family Provision Act 1982. For the surviving spouse to pursue their rights under the Act involves not only Court application costs, but also the cost of time and expense.
There are many sound reasons for a Will to be made. Fundamentally, a Will permits you to dispose of your property as you wish. To make this process easier and to reduce the risk of your most valued people and possessions in life not being taken care of or distributed according to your wishes, The Quinn Group has introduced the Will Kit. This handy, easy to use kit contains simple step-by–step instructions to help you provide the necessary information required to draft your Will. Once we receive the completed Will Kit containing your information, we prepare a draft Will and forward it to you for your review and consideration. Should it be in accordance with your instructions, arrangements can be made for executing (signing) it in compliance with legislation. Upon completion, we can store you Will in our Safe Custody holdings.
Having made a Will it is important that you review it regularly to determine whether it has been affected by any changes in your circumstances or intention. This becomes particularly essential when large value assets such as property or shares are acquired or disposed of. In the event that you pass away and your Will does not reflect your current assets, it can result in an unnecessary expenditure of both time and money, as well as emotional strain on your family and loved ones. Some people choose to review and update their Will on an annual basis.
It is the role of the solicitor to ensure that your Will reflects your wishes and to do so they must obtain a complete list of your assets, and liabilities. This knowledge will help to ensure that your Will reflects your true intentions. If you would like advice regarding the preparation or amendment of your Will or for more information regarding Will or Estate matters please contact our team of experienced Lawyers at The Quinn Group on 1300 QUINNS or submit an online enquiry form.