A Will is a legal document in which you specify who will inherit your assets when you die.
If you die without a Will, your assets will be divided up according to a formula set by the Government. This may not be in line with what you would have wanted. It is also a slow and complicated process, which is stressful for family who have to deal with this.
Get help to make your Will
While it is possible to make your own Will, this can lead to problems later if there are any complications, so get legal help to make your Will. This could be through a private solicitor or trustee, community legal centre or Government service such as a public trustee/advocacy service. Make sure your Will is stored safely and ensure that someone close to you knows where it is kept.
Changing your Will
You can change your Will at any time as long as you have capacity. It is recommended that you review, and possibly change, your Will under the following circumstances:
- marriage, separation, divorce or death of a spouse
- if your children remarry, get divorced or have extended families
- if the executor of the Will becomes ill, dies or is unable to continue being the executor for other reasons
- if a beneficiary of your Will dies
- if you make changes to your financial affairs after you retire
- if you move overseas or interstate
if you buy or sell significant assets.
Regulations about Wills are fairly standard across Australia, although there are minor variations across states and territories.