What is a Will?

Your Will is the document that you sign that says who is to take charge of your affairs on your death (the executor) and who is to receive your property (the beneficiaries). You may also give some directions about your funeral arrangements.

Why make a Will?

The main reason to make a Will is so that your property goes to the person or people you want it to go to (see “What happens if I die without a Will?” below). You also get to say who will be the executor.

Is making a Will difficult?

The hardest part about making a Will is getting around to doing it. A solicitor is practised in helping the client focus on the critical decisions.

Who takes charge of my affairs if I die?

You nominate this person in your Will, called the “executor”, because their job is to “execute” the terms of the Will.

Who should I name as executor?

There are some common themes, such as a married couple appointing each other, a young person appointing a parent or a single person appointing a brother or sister. Who is appointed is always a matter for our client, but our experience allows us to throw up fact scenarios to allow the client to work the answer out for themselves.

What happens if I die without a Will?

First thing is no, it doesn’t go to the Government. Well, it would go to the Government, but only if there is no living relative found anywhere on the planet.

The Succession Act sets out a table of who is entitled to the assets of a person who dies without a Will. This is fairly much commonsense, being to a spouse (legal or de facto), with or without children, but if no spouse or children then to family members, in steps according to how close the relationship is (parents first, then brothers and sister, then grandparents etc).

Who takes charge if I die without a Will?

The Court will give one of the people legally entitled to the estate the authority to administer the estate in the same way as an executor administers an estate under an appointment by a Will.

We’re married. Do we just make the one joint Will?

No. Each makes their own Will, although they are usually in mirrored terms.

Note: If you found this information helpful you may find the information on the pages
“Information for Executors” and “Information for Beneficiaries” helpful as well.