Without a validly executed will, your wishes on where your assets go will not be met upon your death. Having a will ensure that your assets go to the right persons and that your family is taken care of when you die.
What is the legal age to do a Will?
You need to be at least eighteen (18) years old to sign a valid will.
What is a Will?
A will is written legal document with your instructions on how you wish to have your assets distributed upon your death. Your will can include all the assets held in your personal name, including your house, land, car, shares and bank account. However, your will not cover your life insurance and superannuation.
In your will, you need to appoint Executors (s) to administer your estate. You should choose your executor carefully as your executor will have to make important decisions which often require financial and legal knowledge.
It is important that a will is validly written and signed to ensure that your assets will go to the right persons of your choice.
What happens if I don’t make a will?
If you die without a valid will, you are said to have died intestate. This means that your property will be distributed according to the formula given by the laws of intestacy.
Dying intestate will have the following disadvantages:
• The financial future of your children and other family members may not be protected
• Your assets may be given to the government if you have no relatives
• There may be a forced sale of your home to pay off your debts
• There may be a claim by unwanted beneficiaries
• Your estate may will be managed by someone appointed by the Court, and not a person of your choice.
What are the rules of intestacy in Queensland?
There are rules of intestacy in Queensland governing the distribution of an estate without a valid will.
The order of distribution is as follows:
- Where there is a surviving spouse or issue (children and/or grandchildren): spouse and issue
- Where there is no surviving spouse or issue: parents; siblings, nephews and nieces; grandparents; uncles and aunts and first cousins; then the Crown.
How is an Intestate estate distributed in Queensland?
- If the person is married with no children, then the whole estate is given to the spouse.
- If the person is married with children, then, the spouse gets $150,000 plus household chattels, plus ½ of the balance of the estate (where there is one child) or 1/3 of the balance of the estate (where there is more than one child) and the child or children receives the balance of the estate.
- If there is only one (1) child, the child takes the whole estate.
- If there are two (2) or more children, they take the whole estate in equal shares.
Change of Circumstances
You should review your will often to make sure your will still reflects your current wishes.
Your will is automatically revoked when you get married (unless your will is made in contemplation of marriage) or divorced.
Don’t put off preparing your Will
People often delay preparing their will until it is too late. The best way to make sure that your assets are properly distributed is to make a valid will and update your will often (especially when there is a change of circumstances).