A Will sets out how you wish to distribute your assets after death. It is one of the most important documents you will ever sign.
A Will is a complex legal document. The expert Wills and Estate Lawyers at Berryman Partners have been serving the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie area for over 45 years. We can prepare your Will and ensure your wishes are protected. We can also liaise with your Financial Planner or Accountant if necessary.
A Will outlines how your assets are distributed and nominates a person, known as the Executor, to manage and distribute your estate after you pass away.
Having a valid Will is the best way to ensure that your wishes are maintained and your estate is distributed to your loved ones.
The requirements for making a valid Will are:
- It must be in writing
- It must be signed by the Will-maker, with the intention of executing the Will
- The signature must be witnessed and signed by two or more people
If you pass away without a Will, you will have no say in how your assets are distributed or who manages and carries out the distribution. Your estate will automatically be left to your next of kin or in some cases, the government.
The person making a Will (a testator) must have the legal capacity to make a Will. This means, they must be over the age of 18, of sound mind and acting without duress and free of coercion. To ensure that a testator is of sound mind and consenting to the terms of the Will, the signing of the Will must be witnessed by two people who cannot be beneficiaries or the spouse of a beneficiary.
Wills should include a list of beneficiaries and appoint an executor who you can trust with the responsibility of carrying out your intentions. If you wish to make any specific gifts of property you should include this in your Will. You may also include your wishes for funeral arrangements and the disposal of your body after death.
You should update your Will whenever your life circumstances change. For instance, if you purchase property, have a change in your financial situation, get married or divorced, have children or your beneficiaries pass away. You should also review your Will every three to five years. If you wish to change your Will, the easiest way is to revoke the old one and execute a new Will.