A Will is a document which directs how your assets will be distributed after you die.
A Will enables you to give directions as to who will receive your assets and possessions after you pass away. More importantly, it enables you to grant authority to one or more people to take control of your assets to deal with those assets in accordance with your wishes and pass them onto the nominated recipient.
If you do not have a Will when you pass away, you will be declared intestate, with all of your assets being distributed pursuant to a set of rules under intestacy law. Your estate may be administered by the office of the Public Trustee (in exchange for a sizeable fee) or it may be up to one of your family members to take on the burden of administering your estate and going through the often laborious task of proving to the Supreme Court that there is no other more suitable person to administer your estate. Not having a will increases the legal, financial and emotional burden involved in administering your estate.
Dying intestate can be emotionally stressful for your family, not to mention expensive. It can create disputes within the family, if a family member believes they are not being given what they are entitled to. Making a Will is therefore the responsible thing to do, to ensure that your loved ones are properly catered for after you pass away – and having the assistance of an expert Will solicitor ensures that it’s done correctly, giving you full peace of mind.
Assets that are owned solely by you will form part of your estate after you pass away. Assets that are owned by joint proprietors will not form part of your estate and will not be governed by your Will.
However, real estate owned by you as a tenant-in-common or any other assets owned solely by you will form part of your estate and be governed by your Will.
Hiring a Will solicitor presents a number of benefits. For example, a lawyer can think about the situation from a litigators point of view – making a carefully drafted Will involves asking several questions which most people just wouldn’t think to ask until prompted by our checklist. Further, if a Will is not correctly signed by the testator (will maker) and both of the witnesses, it can be deemed void, resulting in unintended -and preventable – litigation. Hence, a Will lawyer’s involvement is always recommended, to make sure that every detail has been taken care of.
Making a Will is not as straightforward as you may think. There are basic Wills, and then there are more complicated Wills involving family trusts and complex asset matrices. There are also testamentary trust Wills which can be very helpful in asset protection in certain circumstances, as these Wills set up a trust structure which only become active upon the death of the Will maker.
If you require the assistance of experienced professionals to draft your Will, contact our Will lawyers in Melbourne today. Our Wills solicitors are experienced in all aspects of Will drafting and we can ensure a thorough and quality service.
Call us on 1300 907 335 or contact us via our online enquiry form.
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