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From the age of 18, having a will should be considered a serious priority for everyone. A will is a crucial document not only for its owner, but for all of that person’s family and friends.
Essentially, a will is a legal document that provides for the distribution of your property on your death. A will nominates a person or persons as executor to distribute assets on your behalf, in accordance with your wishes set out in your will.
Wills stipulate which of your assets will go to the “beneficiary”, anyone from a family member to a friend, charity or any other organisation. Assets can include land, houses, cars, bank accounts, insurance policies, as well as any other goods you may own at the time you die. In the event that you own a business, a will can provide for the succession of that business through other structures such as companies and trusts.
Wills can also state who will be the legal guardian of your child/children in the event that they were left without a parent.
The primary reason that a will is so crucial is because without one, distribution of your assets will be left entirely up to the legislation. This means you died ‘intestate’ and the law sets out a strict formula as to how your assets will be divided through the intestacy rules in the Succession Act 1981 (Qld). This process can result in an outcome much different to how you might have originally planned, plus it is an added cost for someone to be authorised as the Administrator to deal with your estate.
As life goes on and children and grandchildren are born, financial circumstances can change and beneficiaries change. For this reason it is important a will is kept up to date. It’s also crucial that any will is drafted correctly by a qualified lawyer. For example, if a will does not consider survivorship rules, fails to address any existing liabilities of the estate, or is made when there are questions surrounding your mental capacity, the chance of unforeseen and unintended consequences increases.
A legal specialist can help you understand the laws involved and answer any questions you may have in relation to the creation of a will, so contact Rockhampton Wills and Estates Lawyers today.
It is important to seek specific advice regarding your circumstances as this fact sheet provides general information only and does not constitute legal advice.
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