What is a will?
A will is a legal document that set out your wishes on how your assets are to be distributed once you die. It does not come into effect until you die. It also outlines the person(s) who will be responsible for managing your estate ie the executor.
Why do I need a will?
If you do not have a will, then you have no say on how your assets are distributed once you die.
What happens if you die without a will?
You are considered to have died in ‘intestate’. This means legislation will decide how your assets will be distributed. What are the rules of intestacy? In Queensland, the intestacy rules distribute the estate to the closest next of kin to the deceased. The order is as follows:
(a) spouse and children;
If there is no spouse or children, then:
(d) nephews and nieces;
(f) uncles and aunts;
(g) first cousins; then
(h) the Crown.
There are also set rules on how the estate will be distributed between a spouse and children. If the estate is worth more than $150,000, then the estate gets divided a set way between the spouse and children.
Your in-laws or step parents are not considered as next of kin and will not be included to receive a benefit in an intestate estate.
Dying intestate may result in unwanted ramifications such as having to sell the family home to distribute the estate as per legislation or it may result in an estranged family member receiving assets when you did not want them to.
The best way to ensure that your estate is distributed to who you would like to benefit, is to make a valid will and keep it up to date.
Why use a lawyer to prepare a will?
A lot of will kits are available. But a will is a legal document and if it is unclear, improperly worded or incorrectly signed, then it may be invalid and your wishes are completely disregarded and it be considered an intestate estate.
A will prepared by a lawyer will provide you peace of mind that your will is valid and your wishes will be binding.
How Can Parker Law QLD help you?
We can provide prepare a will that coincides with your needs, whether it is a straightforward will or a will that deals with issues such as discretionary testamentary trust or mixed family provisions. Contact us for an obligation free discussion.