If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it is that life is unpredictable, and we will all at some point in time face unfortunate circumstances that we may not necessarily be prepared for.
Over the past few months, you have probably noticed that people are talking a lot more about being prepared and planning ahead. This is because death is inevitable and we all need a plan that will provide us with peace of mind that our families will be taken care of and our wishes will be respected when we pass away. One way to achieve this peace of mind is by ensuring that you have put in place a valid and updated Will.
What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document that deals with the distribution and management of your estate after your death. Some of the benefits of having a Will include allowing you to:
- set out your clear intentions so that they will be respected once you have passed away
- decide who gets your assets, and how much they will get
- decide who benefits from your estate (and who does not)
- allow your beneficiaries to access your assets more easily and quickly
- reduce the stress and heartache for your family
What happens if I do not have a Will?
If you pass away without a Will, your estate will be distributed in accordance with the “Rules of Intestacy”. These rules set out in order which of your family members will inherit your estate if you die without a Will. It is important to also keep in mind that an Application for Letters of Administration will need to be lodged with the Supreme Court to allow the administrator (the person who is appointed by the Court) to distribute your assets in accordance with the law.
Who can make a Will?
Anyone over the age of 18 can make a Will. If you are under the age of 18 you may still be able to make a Will under certain circumstances.
What if you already have a Will, but you want to change it?
If you already have a Will, you can either amend the existing Will or make a new one.
It is important that your Will is updated as your circumstances change. For example, you may want to update your Will if you:
- get married
- get divorced or separate from your spouse
- have children (or grandchildren)
- your financial circumstances change
- your intentions change
What do I need to do before I get a Will?
Before you get a Will, you should consider the following:
- what are your assets and liabilities?
- who will be the executor(s) of the Will (i.e. the person who will administer your Will)?
- who do you want to benefit from your estate?
- do you have minor children, and if so, does a guardian need to be appointed?
- do you intend to make any gifts or donations to charities?
How can Lionheart Lawyers help you?
Our experienced Wills and Estate Lawyers will be with you from the very beginning. We will guide you throughout the process and ensure that your interests are protected so that if required, you and your family are prepared.