The first step to make your own will in Australia is to know how to distribute your assets to people. If a person dies without a Will, no one would know who the beneficiaries are. Section 102 of the Succession Act 2006 defines this as dying intestate. Additionally, dying intestate means the deceased’s won’t have total control over his/her assets.
What can you use to make your own will in Australia? DIY Will kits are relatively cheap and accessible online. However, there are chances that it won’t be legally binding. With this being said, DIY Will kits can be easily challenged or contested. Contesting a Will means the beneficiaries are claiming that the Will did not include them. Challenging a Will means beneficiaries are questioning the Will’s validity.
Having a legal Will further explains how beneficiaries will receive assets or properties. This includes the deceased’s house, remaining money, and personal belongings. How do you make your own Will in Australia? This can be easily done with a solicitor to prevent any legal disputes that come along with it.
‘Prevention is better than cure’, as the phrase goes.
Make Your Own Will Australia: Things To Consider
Listing down the proper items and beneficiaries is a must when you want to make your own Will in Australia. You must also have testamentary capacity when you want to make your own Will in Australia. Having testamentary capacity means you:
- Know the legal effect of a Will;
- Are aware of the value of your assets;
- Are aware of the beneficiaries that will receive your estate and;
- Must not be prevented by reason of mental disabilities from making a Will
Here are some notable things you need when you want to make your own Will in Australia:
- A list of your assets (Property, bank accounts, superannuation, and investments)
- The names and addresses of your beneficiaries
- Appointing a guardian if you have children under 18
- Specific gifts or heirlooms that you want particular people to receive
- Funeral details
- Donations to charities or organisations
Dividing assets is the most crucial part when knowing how to make your own Will in Australia. Bequeath each asset to the person/ people you prefer. Briefly, you should list asset percentages clearly. For example, you might want to give 30 percent of your assets to your child and 70 percent to your spouse.
It’s also required to appoint an executor to carry out your Will’s wishes. An executor’s role is to pay debts, collect estate assets and distribute them to the intended beneficiaries. An executor can either be a relative, a friend, or a solicitor.
Two witnesses should oversee the signing of your Will. Additionally, they also need to sign your Will. It’s best for these witnesses to also use the same pen in signing all of the pages. Finally, ensure that witnesses aren’t beneficiaries or the spouse of a beneficiary.
Make Your Own Will Australia: Updating Your Will
We can never be certain if situations in our life will change. That’s why it’s important to keep updating your Will as long as you’re alive. There are several possible situations that can prompt you to update your Will. Here are the following:
- A new de-facto partner has entered your life
- Having a baby
- Marriage, separation, and divorce
- The death of an executor or a beneficiary
- You wish to remove or replace a beneficiary
A testator can get assistance from a solicitor when updating their Will. Testators are people who have made a Will or given a legacy. NSW Trustee and Guardian recommends that you review your Will at least once every 5 years. This allows you to recollect any changes that occurred within the year. Updating your Will requires signatures from you and two witnesses.
Financial and asset changes can also greatly affect when you make your own Will in Australia. When a testator acquires new assets, they need to update this in their Will. A person dying with an outdated Will will be dying partially intestate. Relative to dying intestate, these unaccounted assets will be subject to the rules of intestate succession legislation.
What Are The Ways To Update A Will?
There are two ways of updating a Will. Firstly, the testator can revoke their most recent Will and make an entirely new Will. Completely writing a new WIll can reduce the confusion of who gets what. However, this can be time-consuming and costly.
Secondly, a testator can make a codicil in their existing Will. A codicil is a legal and binding postscript to the Will. This is the best approach to take if a testator wants beneficiaries and executors to understand small changes in the Will. Codicils require signing and witnessing according to statutory regulations.
Challenging And Contesting A Will
Undue influence can be used to challenge a Will. This challenge will be valid if it is established that you did not act willingly with sincere intentions while creating your Will. A Will can also be challenged on the grounds of fraud. This can be established if:
- An important piece of information was purposefully misread;
- You were deceived in making your Will by misinterpretations;
- You relied on such misinterpretations or;
- The person who committed the fraud was benefited under the Will
Furthermore, some people may believe they were not treated fairly in your Will. A family member may have been overlooked in the will or a loved one may believe they should have gotten more from your assets. Indeed, because of the rising complexity of Wills, Will conflicts are becoming more prevalent.
Seeking Legal Aid With JB Solicitors
There are a lot of issues that affect your Will’s validity. This includes taxation of estate assets or even marital status changes. Drafting a Will with JB Solicitors ensures that your Will is legally binding according to standard law procedures.
This prevents future disputes to your Will that can potentially harm family relationships. Our experienced solicitors recognise discrepancies in a Will. Not only that, but they also have the right knowledge to assist testators in making their own Will in Australia.
Contact and make your own will in Australia with us today.