What are the benefits of having a will?8 December 2021 in Wills and Estates Law
What is a will?
In simple terms, a will is a document that provides for the distribution of a person’s assets following that person’s death. A will also outlines who is responsible for administering your will.
A will is typically drafted to outline the specific intentions of the will maker and must be signed and witnessed.
A will also assigns executors and beneficiaries. An executor is best described as a person determined by a will-maker to be responsible for the administration of their will. As such, an executor is responsible for the management and distribution of a will-maker’s property after they die.
A beneficiary is a person who is entitled to certain benefits from a will. For example, a will may provide that one of its beneficiaries is entitled to the deceased’s house or car. A will can provide for multiple beneficiaries and divide assets between them in accordance with the will maker’s intentions.
A will can be tailored to reflect your specific circumstances and instructions.
Benefits of having a will
Whilst you are not required to have a will, there are many benefits to having a professionally drafted will.
Having a will can give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your estate will be managed effectively and in accordance with your instructions in the event of your death.
Having a will can also ensure that your loved ones do not have to pay unnecessary costs following your death.
Alternatively, if you die without a will your assets may not be distributed in the way you intended them to be. In addition, disputes may also arise between potential beneficiaries of your estate.
For more information on the complications that can arise from not having a will, please contact one of our expert will lawyers on 02 8539 7475.
Can I dispute a Will?
There are various grounds upon which you can dispute a will.
You may want to dispute the validity of the will entirely, the terms of the will or where you consider an executor to be unfit to fulfill their responsibilities.
A wills and estates lawyer can help you dispute a will and guide you through the stressful and complicated process of a dispute.
What assets can and cannot be included in a will?
There are some assets that can be included in a will, whilst other assets cannot be included in a will.
Some examples of assets that can be included in a will are:
- Real estate
Assets which cannot be included in a will include property which you don not fully own, such as:
- Jointly owned property
- Life insurance proceeds
For more information on what assets can and cannot be included in a will, please contact one of our expert will lawyers on 02 8539 7475.
Should I update my will?
You should consider having your will reviewed regularly in order for it to be updated and consistent with your current circumstances.
A wills and estates lawyer can also review your current will in order to ensure that they are legally effective and ensure you understand the rights and responsibilities it creates.
There are a variety of circumstances which may be a sign for you to update your will. For example, you may want to consider changing your will if:
- You have a new child
- You get divorced
- A beneficiary dies
- You have more assets to distribute
- You want to remove a beneficiary from your will
- You want to add a beneficiary to your will
- You have sold a business
- You have bought or started a business
For more information on when a will should be updated, please contact one of our expert wills and estates lawyers on 02 8539 7475.
Why BSM Lawyers
We always take the time to listen carefully and thoroughly to your needs, we then advise on the most appropriate documents and structure for you.
Our lawyers meticulously draft your documents and then provide you with the opportunity to review these prior to finalisation.
We pride ourselves on creating watertight documents to minimise future risks in a cost-effective manner with a fixed fee. Compare our prices.
Brander Smith McKnight Lawyers also provide professional legal advice and advocacy for executors in any estate including distribution and contested estates.
Is a will the same as an estate plan?
A will is a document that determines how a person’s assets are to be distributed when they die.
An estate plan encompasses several documents that provide a detailed outline regarding a person’s financial and health issues that can be used when a person either dies or becomes incapacitated.
A wills and estates lawyer can provide you with assistance in drafting both wills and estate plans.
For more information on the nuanced differences between wills and estate plans, please contact us on 02 8539 7475.
When might a will be invalid?
A will may be invalidated for a variety of reasons, some of which include:
- Instances where a will-maker has been subject to undue influence. Undue influence refers to instances where a party has improperly exploited a position of trust or influence over the will-maker. Evidence of undue influence may indicate that a will-maker has prepared their will in a way that was not free and voluntary.
- Instances where it is alleged that the will has been forged. For example, a will may be invalidated where someone has forged signatures to the will.
- Instances where there is evidence that the will-maker was mentally incapable of making a valid will. For example, a will may be invalidated where it has been drafted by someone with a serious mental illness.
For more information on the circumstances which may invalidate a will, please contact us on 02 8539 7475.
How much does a will cost?
Brander Smith McKnight’s wills and estates lawyers provide meticulously drafted wills that minimise future risks in a cost-effective manner with a fixed fee.
For more information on the costs of a will, please contact us on 02 8539 7475.
What is the ‘capacity’ to make a will?
For a will to be valid, the person making the will must have the ‘capacity’ to make it.
‘Capacity’ in this context refers to a person’s mental capability of understanding what a will is. Where a person lacks the understanding of what they are doing when they are making a will, they may not have created a valid will.
For more information on the requirement of ‘capacity’ in the context of wills, please contact one of our wills and estates lawyers.
Should I draft my own will?
You can draft your own will, however you should consider having your will drafted by a wills and estates lawyer.
There are several complications that can arise where someone has drafted their own will. This is because there are various legal considerations that someone drafting their own will may fail to consider. Having a poorly drafted will can also result in unnecessary costs being imposed on your family.
Having your will drafted by a lawyer ensures that your will is legally effective and can be executed properly and efficiently. A lawyer can also tailor the drafting of a will to reflect your instructions and circumstances. Further, a lawyer can ensure that you fully understand the rights and responsibilities that are created by your will.
What is a ‘mutual will’?
Mutual wills are corresponding wills made between two people simultaneously.
Mutual wills are drafted in such a way that either party cannot revoke or changed their will without the express consent of the other party in the mutual will.
For more information on mutual wills, please contact one of our expert wills and estates lawyer on 02 8539 7475.