Everyone hopes to live a long and full life, but it is not possible to predict when you might pass away or be involved in accident or suffer an illness that could prevent you from making the right decisions.
It is important to have a legal Will so that your Estate (your belongings, assets and finances) go to the people you want to have them in the event of your death.
In Australia the process for writing a will is very straightforward. For a Will to be valid and legally binding, it needs to meet a number of basic conditions. Firstly, your Will needs to be in writing. Secondly, every page must be signed by you and at least two witnesses, who are all present and sign at the same time. Thirdly, once you and your witnesses have signed every page, the witnesses must declare at the end that the Will is yours.
A Will that is written, witnessed and signed in this way is regarded as final by the law. It is a good idea to regularly review your Will to ensure that it adequately addresses any change in your circumstances including the birth of children, marriage or divorce.
You should make or update your Will to ensure that:
- you decide how your estate will be distributed so you can provide for those you care about;
- you leave certain assets or items including family heirlooms to particular people;
- you decide who will care for your minor children;
- you decide and appoint a person you trust to carry out the instructions in your Will;
- you specify your funeral arrangements.