A Will is one of the most important documents that you will sign in your lifetime. It is a document that states how you wish for your assets to be distributed after your death. A Will can also contain other provisions e.g. who will care for your children if they are under 18 at the time of your death; how your body will be disposed of after our death.

There are formal requirements for a Will to be valid, including that the document must be in writing, must be signed by you, and witnessed by two adults. If you are over the age of 18 and have assets (e.g. a car or a house) or children, then it is important that you have a will.

The consequences of failing to make a Will is that the law will act to impose a method of distribution of your assets. This may result in assets being given to someone you do not wish to give to and/or someone whom you wish to receive assets may be left ’empty-handed’.

What you should consider before making your will

There are many factors to consider before making your will, a few aspects to think about include:

•   What assets you own and how they are structured

•   Do you have an existing Will

•   Who your beneficiaries will be

•   Who will be your children’s guardians if they are minors

•   Who you will appoint as an executor

•   How your remains are to be treated

If a Will is not correctly or legally drafted, it can be contested later on.

A Will should be reviewed at least once every 2 years or in the event of a change in life circumstance marriage, divorce, entering into or leaving a de facto relationship, the birth of a child, the death of a beneficiary, acquiring property not contemplated by your Will or disposing of property gifted in the Will; if the executor dies or becomes unsuitable; if the needs or financial circumstances of any beneficiaries change and a child getting married.

Marriage or divorce may affect the operation if the Will is not specifically made in contemplation of the marriage or divorce. It is important to make a new Will in those circumstances.

It is strongly recommended to seek the advice of a professional as this will save your beneficiaries from unnecessary expense, time and effort as the result of an invalid will. Here at The Quinn Group, our legal team has many years experience in dealing with Wills and Estate matters. From drafting Wills and providing Estate Planning advice, to administering a deceased estate and assisting to contest a Will, we are able to provide professional and compassionate service across these and other related areas. If you would like advice regarding the preparation of your Will, call us on 1300 QUINNS (1300 784 667) or on +61 2 9223 9166 to arrange an appointment, alternatively you can submit an online enquiry.