All your assets, that is, your property (movable and immovable), shares, savings, investments, minus any liabilities are collectively referred to as your estate. Your Will explains your intention for the distribution of your estate. You are assured that upon your death, your estate is distributed in accordance with your wishes.
By making a Will, you appoint the person (an Executor) who will be responsible for dealing with your Will and estate after your death. Your Executor will use your assets to pay off your taxes and debts and will thereafter distribute money and property to the individuals or organisations entitled to it in your Will. This ensures that you control who will administer your estate.
Consequences of not having a Will?
If you don’t have a Will, your estate will be distributed to family members in accordance with the Administration Act 1903. This distribution may mean that the individuals you most want to benefit from your estate might not get anything at all or may include individuals you may want to disinherit from your estate.
If you do not have a Will, there may be family disputes over the distribution of Assets, this can result in long and expensive legal battles and result in disaccord within the family.
Benefits of having a Will
A benefit of having a Will is that your assets can be distributed to your beneficiaries much sooner than if you die without having a Will. If you don’t have a Will, it may take longer and cost more to administer your Estate.
Apart from detailing your intentions with regards to distribution of your property, you can appoint guardians for your minor children and make arrangements for their maintenance and education. You can also forgive debts and disinherit individuals who would otherwise stand to inherit under the Administration Act 1903.
Benefits of a Solicitor drafting your Will
You may draft your own Will; however, a Solicitor will provide advice and tailor your Will to suit your specific financial and personal circumstances. A solicitor will also ensure that your Will complies with the statutory requirements for a valid Will.
A poorly written Will is open to dispute. Differing opinions on the interpretation of the Will can result in discord within the family and substantial costs in rectify the Will by applications to Court. An inexperienced Will maker may include ambiguous terms in a Will, they may include unlawful provisions, may fail to consider all the existing circumstances and may fail to dispose of the whole estate in the Will.
Updating your Will
It is important to update your Will to reflect your current personal circumstances. Where your assets have changed significantly or if there are life changes through births, deaths, divorce, marriage or you have entered a de facto relationship since your last Will was drafted it is important to update your Will.
In Western Australia, marriage and divorce revokes a Will (if the divorce occurred on or after 9 February 2009) unless, a contrary intention appears in the Will or there is other evidence establishing that intention.
if you would like to speak about the best option for your Will or need your current Will updated, MP Commercial Lawyers would be happy to assist.