According to intestacy laws in Australia, if you die and you don’t have a valid Will, then your estate and assets will be distributed by an administrator who has been appointed by a court of law. Sadly, the country’s State and Territory laws usually only allocate parts of the estates in these scenarios to specific family members, and in strict proportions. Without a shadow of a doubt, the way the court does this will not reflect your wishes.
As a legally binding document a Will is something that anyone can have written up to ensure that when they die, their estate and assets are distributed to the persons they nominate as recipients by a court of law. There are many stories that Brisbane wills and estates lawyers can share with the world about the pitfalls of not preparing the correct legal documentation; assets and estates that ended up in the wrong but rightful hands of people seemingly unconnected to the recently deceased person.
The one simple thing that you can do to ensure that your valuables, property and wealth are correctly distributed amongst the people and family that you care about the most, is to make a sound Will, and in doing so guaranteed that the Government does not also become one of the benefactors of your lack of planning.
When creating a Will, the one of the biggest considerations you’ll need to decide upon is about who the nominated beneficiaries will be and what they will receive. It is not generally advisable to leave a lot of gifts. Whilst these items may be valuable when making out your Will, time does not guarantee that they’ll be worth as much when you’ve gone. It is therefore often advisable to leave only a few gifts in the Will and instead to assign percentages of the remaining amount to each person detailed as a beneficiary.
Sometimes, if the recipient of assets from Will believes that they haven’t been provided for fairly, they are able to challenge the Will in court. Of course the likelihood of this happening is often quite high, but one effective way to reduce the chances of this, especially if certain beneficiaries in your Will receive lesser proportions than others, it is an accepted practice to include a letter of wishes in addition to the Will documentation. Whilst not binding, a letter may help to explain why and provide guidance to the executor of the Will and go some way to explaining to the aggrieved party why they have been catered for in this way.
One final but very important consideration when creating a legally binding Will is the nomination of someone who will be responsible for the administration of its content. In Queensland Law the Will administrator ensures that estates are allocated and distributed in accordance with the wishes of the person who nominated them, usually as a close friend or family member. They act in your interests as your legal representative, and in doing so make certain that the people nominated in the Will successfully receive their entitlement.