Wills and Estate Planning

What Is A Will

A Will is one of the most important legal documents you will have prepared and sign in your lifetime. Your Will states your intentions of what is to happen after your death in respect of how you want your assets distributed as well as your wishes for guardianship of any minor children, disposal of your body, whether burial or cremation, and any other wishes. A Will appoints somebody (known as your Executor and Trustee) to carry out your wishes contained within your Will.

Our Wills and Estate lawyers will ensure that the right assets are distributed to the right people at the right time.

In order for your Will to be valid, it must be in writing and signed by you in the presence of two witnesses aged over the age of 18 years. The witnesses must also be present at the time of signing your Will and cannot be beneficiaries under your Will. If these careful processes are not carried out then your Will is at the risk of being invalid.

What if I die without a Will?

If you die without having a valid Will you are known to die intestate and your assets are distributed in accordance with the Succession Act 1981. This may mean that your estate is not distributed the way you might have wished. The outcome of dying intestate can be very onerous on your family and loved ones and can be very costly. This can simply be avoided by having a valid will in place.

Who should have a Will and when should it be updated?

If you are over the age of 18 years, we recommend that you make arrangements for your Succession planning with one of our Estate lawyers located here on the Gold Coast to ensure your affairs are in order upon your death. You may not see the need to have a Will, or a more detailed succession plan if you do not own property or have a large asset pool, however you may have assets such as a car, savings, superannuation or life insurance that, under the rules of intestacy (not having a valid Will) your assets may not be distributed to the person that you would want your assets to be distributed to.

Your Will should be reviewed every two years or when a life changing event has occurred some of which are:

  • You have married;
  • You have separated or divorced;
  • You are now in a de facto relationship;
  • You have had children;
  • You wish to appoint a guardian of your minor children;
  • One of your beneficiaries has died;
  • One of your Executors has died;
  • One of your Executors is unable or unwilling to act;
  • Your assets have significantly increased or decreased; or
  • You have acquired specific assets that you wish to leave to a specific person.