Do You Have A Will?

Emily Moore

Have you been Meaning to do a Will?

What is a Will?

Our death is not a subject we like to think about, but having a will is the best way to make sure your possessions and property go to those you intend. There are three things a Will generally needs in order to be valid:

  1. Must be in writing, printed or handwritten
  2. It must be signed
  3. Two others must witness your signature and sign the Will

An Executor and Trustee must be appointed to handle your affairs, this can be the same or different people. People often appoint their Solicitors as Executors due to their expertise in administering Wills.

What happens if you die without one?

Legally known as ‘dying intestate’, no will at death means the laws of the state or territory will decide how the Estate is handled. If you have a partner (including a de-facto relationship living together for two or more years, or having a child together) the full Estate goes to them. If there are children from previous relationships then some may go to them, though this depends entirely on the size of the Estate.

If the is no partner or children, then all the Estate goes firstly to:

  • Parents
  • then siblings
  • then grandparents
  • then uncles and aunts
  • then cousins

The Estate does not pass to the government unless there are no living relatives.

What happens if I need to change it?

You can change whenever you like! However, it is not as easy as crossing out and writing something else. Minor changes will require a codicil, essentially an authorised amendment to the Will. Like a Will, a codicil needs to be witnessed and signed off by two other people. For major changes it’s generally easiest to make a whole new Will.