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Many people make the assumption that when you die, your partner or children will inherit your estate. However, this may not always be the case, unless you have specifically set out your wishes in your will.
Preparing a will is on many people’s to-do lists, yet many Australians die without one. Preparing a will is imperative to protect the future of your assets and possessions. Assets to consider may include: your house, your car, your share or investment portfolio, digital assets, art pieces and your cherished items which may hold great personal significance to you and your legacy.
If you die without a will
If you die without a will, you will have ‘died intestate’ and your estate will be administered according to legislation in the relevant state. This means that your estate could be allocated to your next of kin and family members in a way that you did not intend.
To ensure that your assets are distributed in accordance with your intentions record your wishes in your will. A will is the only legally binding document that is accepted by law as an individual’s final wishes, it may also contain important information about your funeral and guardianship arrangements for children.
Same sex relationships
Victorian law stipulates that a will becomes invalid upon marriage, unless the will is specifically made in contemplation of marriage.
Even though same-sex marriages cannot be performed in Australia, there are no limitations on same sex couples preparing a will that leaves part/all of their estate to their partner.
In most instances, if you are in a de facto relationship and die intestate, your partner will be entitled to all or part of your estate, if you do not have any children. If there are doubts about the relationship status of two individuals, the Domestic Relationship Register (Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages) can be useful proof.
Be sure to record your wishes in your will if you want peace-of-mind that your partner and loved ones are adequately provided for.
Talk about it
Thinking about the end of your life is an emotional and tricky subject to contemplate. And that’s even before you’ve thought about discussing it with your family and loved ones.
During the process of planning for and preparing your will, share your plans with those closest to you. This ensures that there is a clear understanding of your wishes.
You should give some thought to who will be the executor of your will. It is important to understand that the task of administering an estate is a significant responsibility and requires your executor to have a significant amount of time, commercial consideration and decision making skills.
If you want to choose a friend or family member, we encourage you speak with the relevant person to ensure they are aware of the nomination and the corresponding duties when the time comes.
We can help
Call us today on 03 9667 6444 for a confidential, obligation-free discussion about your circumstances. In addition to our face-to-face will writing services, you can purchase DIY Legal Will Kits online or buy a copy from major Australia Post stores or selected newsagency outlets in Victoria.