Instead of ‘new year; new you’, what about ‘new year; new will’? Although it has been a hectic summer so far, it is the perfect time to think about your will! In this article Gerald Santucci discusses why you should make a will – or if you already have one, why you should review it.

Why do I need a will?

Wills aren’t just for ‘old’ people – every person over 18 should have a will. Most of us don’t know when we are going to die and often put off making a will, but if you die without a valid will (intestate) it can cause significant financial and emotional hardship for your loved ones, even if you do not have significant assets and especially if you do.

When someone dies intestate, the rules of intestacy apply in accordance with Schedule 6 of the Administration and Probate Act 1929. The intestacy provisions set out a hierarchy of persons entitled to benefit from an intestate estate. But if you have a legally effective will, it ensures that, when you die, your estate will be distributed in the way you want. It means that your estate can go to the people you most care about.

Why should I update my will?

How long ago did you write your will? You should review your will every two to three years, whenever a major event occurs in your family, or whenever there are significant changes in your assets or the taxation law. You should update your will if:

  • you’ve changed your mind about how you want your estate to be distributed
  • your relationship status has changed or if you are experiencing matrimonial difficulties
  • there are new members of the family (e.g. by birth, adoption, fostering or blended families)
  • you’ve changed your name
  • an executor has died
  • a beneficiary has died
  • you have sold property that was designated under the will to a specific person.

How can we help?

If you’d like to prepare a will and discuss your estate plan, please contact our Wills, Estate and Elder Law team by email or on 02 6285 8000 to arrange a meeting.

*The content of this article is provided for information purposes only, and we do not accept any liability for reliance upon the information contained in this article.  This information cannot be relied upon as legal advice.