On the tenth day of Christmas..... New Years Resolution – this year I will prepare my Will!

Posted by Luisa-Maria Maroun on 18 December 2014

Most people procrastinate about having their Will prepared. They don’t appreciate the importance of a Will and do not realise that without having a Will in place, they have no control over how their estate is distributed and who receives what when they die.

Without a Will legislation dictates who gets   your assets . This can mean that people, who you would otherwise not want to receive an interest in your estate, may actually receive part of your estate. It is critical that you have a Solicitor prepare your Will so that your specific wishes regarding the distribution of your estate are properly documented. .

What do we mean when we refer to the term ‘estate’? Your estate is basically comprised of what you own, whether it be real property and/or any tangible personal property such as, jewelry, furniture, motor vehicles, artworks, family heirlooms, etc. A Will generally contains specific directions about who is to receive a particular asset (and how). Further, a Will can also canvas the issue of appointing guardians for any minor children. This is an important consideration if you have a young family – who would you want to be responsible for the future care of your children should you pass away?

One of the advantages of having a Will is that it is flexible in nature and can be changed as many times as you like during  your lifetime. Often people alter their Wills due to a change in their circumstances.  There is no limit as to the number of times that you can change your Will - all that matters is that  the current version  complies with legislative requirements. Those requirements include the manner in which the Will is drafted, irrespective of whether it be formally typed up or handwritten. As a starting point, the person making the Will must have their signature witnessed by two other people over the age of 18. The only limitation in relation to who qualifies as   valid witnesses is that the witnesses cannot be beneficiaries under the Will. Whilst a will need only be short in its form it is highly recommended that in order to avoid legal disputes about the content, meaning and effect of the Will that it is drawn up by an experienced estates lawyer. 

In the event that you pass away without leaving a Will, your surviving family members must decide who will manage your estate and must  apply to the Supreme Court to be appointed as the administrator of your estate. If you leave no surviving family members or other eligible persons, the state will manage your estate (and all of its proceeds too!).

Everyone needs a Will whether you are single, married, childless, a parent, young or older or in good health or in bad health. No one likes to contemplate their mortality, but it is important to think about what you want to happen upon your death and make arrangements in advance, so that your wishes are known to those who survive you.

Make your 2015 New Year’s resolution an achievable and important one - have your estate planning formerly put in place!

Contact our experience estates lawyers to help get your new year off to a positive start!