It is important for everyone over 18 to have a Will to make sure their wishes are followed and their assets are distributed as they would want after they die.
When a person dies without a Will, it is referred to as dying “intestate”. If you die intestate, your assets will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy. In New South Wales, those rules are set out in the Succession Act 2006.
If you die intestate, your testamentary wishes are not ordinarily considered, and it is very likely that your assets will not be distributed as you would have desired.
A Will is also the place where you can indicate to your family and friends your wishes on other important matters, such as who you want to be the guardians of your children.
Making a Will shows a level of care in not wanting to give loved ones any more stress to deal with than they will already face when you pass away. In many ways it is one of the most selfless things you can do.
Regularly review your Will
Preparing a Will is not a once-off event. It is sensible to review your Will regularly, and we suggest that this be done a minimum of every three to five years.
Changes in your life may create problems for others in interpreting your wishes in any Will you have already made and may undo all the good work you have done to protect those close to you by making one. It can make your Will ineffective or even invalid.
It could be that a Will made many years ago is still appropriate, just as it may be that a recently made Will is now out of date.
Ideally you should review your Will annually, along with other annual events, such as lodging your taxation returns. It is likely that your needs and circumstances will change many times in the course of your life and with those changes it is prudent to consider your Will.
Healthy Will checklist
There are a number of life events that can impact on your Will and which mean you need to revisit and update it.
Here is a checklist of life changes which can impact on the validity of your Will and which you need to consider in examining the legal health of your existing Will.
At the same time as you check the health of your Will, you need to check your super and life insurance, which is often now a part of your super policy.
Many people assume their superannuation will be divided up in accordance with the wishes in their Will, but that is not necessarily the case. You need to look at your super policy to check how you have nominated that your super should be allocated, and that it is still allocated in the way you want.
At the same time, check the division of any life insurance you have in your policy, and update it if necessary.
The important thing is to consider your circumstances at every major personal milestone in your life.
Any Will you have made is likely to become out of date and no longer accurately represent your wishes in some way following changes in your life, possibly within a few years of drawing it up. It will depend on circumstances that are unique to you.
If you would like to discuss a new Will or changes in your circumstances and a review of your current Will please call us on +61 2 9283 3344 or email [email protected].Back to News
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