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Wills

What is a Will and why do you need one?

A Will is a document that sets out how you want your affairs dealt with after you have passed away. It is legally binding, and cannot be changed after death without application to the Court.

What sort of things could you include in your Will?

• You want to leave your money to your partner/spouse, your children, or to someone else

• You want to leave your house to someone specific

• You want to leave your jewellery to your sister

• You want to leave your pets to your brother

• You want to make a gift to a charity

• You want to appoint your sister as guardian of your children

• You want to be buried in a certain place or cremated and your ashes scattered at the top of the Remarkables

Who carries out your wishes? In your Will you will appoint one, or more, executors to carry out your wishes. You should think carefully about who you want this to be as it is a very important and sometimes time-consuming position.

When should you update your Will? If you change your mind about anything substantial, or your circumstances change, you should update your Will as soon as possible. A change of circumstances could include, for example, separating from your partner, having children, buying your first house, winning lotto, getting married, having a major falling out with someone you have gifted something to, or your intended guardian of your children dying. You need to consider all your family members and ensure that none are unfairly excluded.

What happens if you don’t have a Will? If you own property worth more than $15,000 someone will need to apply to the Court to have your estate administered. Without your wishes, the law will apply to who gets how much of your estate. Generally, your partner, spouse, civil union or de facto partner will benefit first, then your children, parents, siblings and so on. If there is no-one surviving you then your assets will belong to the Crown and will be distributed according to the legislation.

Making a Will can sometimes be difficult and you need to be sure you have thought about all your options. Mactodd are here to help you with this. We will be running a seminar in October on Wills to help you get started. Keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for more details.