5 Quick and Easy Steps for Making a Will

As at October 2018, 10 million Australians did not have a Will. That is approximately 50% of our population walking around each day without a Will.

Many people put off making a will as they think it will be a difficult and time consuming process. It is on their ‘to do list’ but they just never seem to find the time.

Once you get started, the process is not that difficult. In this post, we offer up a quick and easy overview to work through the key things you will need to think about then making a Will:-

Executors – put really simply, an executor is the person who will see out your wishes after you have passed. They must be over the age of 18 and you can appoint more than one person. You can also appoint a substitute (a back-up) if for any reason for first appointment could not fulfil the role.

Guardians – if you have children under the age of 18 years, you will need to nominate a legal guardian in your Will. This is the person or people who you would like to care for your children if something was to happen to your self and your partner.

If you have a family pet, you can also gift your pet to someone to care for (further details about pets can be found in our earlier blog post https://www.shawbunner.com.au/blog-1/2019/7/30/what-happens-to-your-pets-when-you-die )

Funeral wishes – you may wish to stipulate your funeral wishes or whether you would like to donate your body for scientific or medical research. This is entirely OPTIONAL and some people prefer to have this discussion with their loved ones as opposed to listing it in their Will. Either way, it is helpful to let people know what your wishes would be if something was to happen.

What is your Estate made up of – when thinking about your Will, you need to consider what would make up your Estate. We would recommend writing down some notes about where you bank, which accounts you have, if you own residential property – what is the value and is there a mortgage on the property? Where is your superannuation held? Do you know how much is in super? Is there a death benefit insurance attached to your super or do you have a stand alone life insurance policy? And while you are looking at your superannuation, make sure you check to see whether you have a binding death nomination in place. Do you have shares and if so, how many and in which companies?

A list such as this can be very helpful when considering what you wish to gift to your beneficiaries and also helpful to your executor/s as a guide to what assets you hold and where they are located.

Your beneficiaries – once you have considered what your estate would consist of, you then need to think about is who you would want your Estate to go to. There are many different ways you can distribute your Estate - it could be as simple as gifting it all to your partner or dividing your estate into equal shares between family members. We also recommend thinking about what would happen if one of your beneficiaries did not survive you; for example you may leave everything to your spouse at first instance however if you and your spouse passed at the same time, you would allow for your children in equal shares.  

Many people gift their estate as a whole however you can also consider whether you would like to gift individual items if you so wished – such as a car, a family heirloom or a novelty spoon collection for that matter. You may also give an amount of money, known as a pecuniary legacy.

If you are naming a beneficiary under the age of 18, you need to consider at what age you would like that person to inherit – say at 18, 21 or 25 for instance.

When considering the distribution of your Estate, we would recommend that you consider whether you are adequately providing for family members in order to avoid a family provision claim. A family provision claim is an application to the Supreme Court of NSW for a share or larger share from the estate of a deceased person. Such claims can be made by ‘eligible persons’ including spouses, former spouse, children, grandchildren or a person who was at any time wholly or partly dependent upon the deceased.

If you wish to discuss your Estate planning needs, get in touch today. We make the process simple and offer competitive fixed fee Will packages.