A Will is a legal document which sets out who will receive your property and possessions when you pass away.
If you pass away without a valid Will, the intestacy rules under the Succession Act 1981 (Qld) will determine how your assets will be distributed and may result in a very different outcome to what you may have wanted or intended. Further, an application to the Court will be required to authorise a person to be able to deal with your estate. This process is expensive.
By having a valid Will, you give yourself the best chance of ensuring your estate is distributed how you wish and allows you to nominate a person or persons you trust to administer your estate. It also gives you the opportunity to provide for the succession of any businesses that you control through other structures such as companies and trusts.
Ensuring your Will is drafted correctly and takes into account your current circumstances is also important. For example, if your Will fails to consider survivorship rules, does not appropriately deal with liabilities of the estate, or is made when there are questions around your mental capacity, it can have drastic unintended consequences.
Once you make a Will, you should review it regularly to ensure that it is up to date, particularly if you marry or divorce, a long-term relationship ends, children or grandchildren are born, your assets or financial circumstances change or a beneficiary passes away or is at risk of bankruptcy. You should also review your Will if a person you have appointed to be your executor passes away, becomes unable or is unwilling to act due to age or ill-health or is at risk of bankruptcy.
by Brianna Hockey, Agribusiness Lawyer
This information is intended to provide a general summary only and should not be relied on as a substitute for legal advice.