legal Wills – Frequently Asked Questions

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What is a will?

A will is a legal document that details what you’d like to happen with your estate. It can help ensure your assets are protected and your final wishes are carried out.

It also names who is responsible for carrying out your wishes. This person is known as an executor.

Why do I need a will?

 

Your will is your voice after you’re gone. The clearer your instructions, the better it is for the people you leave behind. A well-written and current will helps ensure:

  • the right people are provided for when you die
  • you know who will be your children’s guardian
  • your assets will be distributed according to your wishes
  • there are no disagreements among those who expect to benefit from your estate
  • the people responsible for managing your estate understand how you would like your affairs managed
  • your estate can be settled quickly.

Who can make a will?

Anyone over 18 years of age with legal capacity can make a will.

Legal capacity to make a will means you are of sound mind and you understand what a will is and what it does. This means you know what property you own, who is important to you and you are able to consider any claims that may be made against your estate.

If you’re under 18, you are allowed to make a will if you’re married, or if you gain consent from the court.

If you have a loved one without legal capacity, we may be able to assist in the preparation of a statutory will.

What happens if I don't have a will?

If you don’t have a will, state and territory laws determine who will benefit from your estate. The state will also determine who will administer your estate. This can mean your assets might not be distributed as you want.

When should I update my will?

Whenever your life changes.

An up-to-date will ensures the important people in your life are looked after.

As a rule, you should consider reviewing your will every two to three years. You should change your will after a significant life event like:

  • getting married or divorced
  • buying or selling a home or a business
  • having a child
  • deciding to change the beneficiaries of your will
  • deciding to change the executor of your will

Why should I choose State Trustees to write my will?

  • State Trustees can give you real peace-of-mind.
  • We understand estate law and we will remain impartial throughout the process.
  • We ask the right questions, including some you may not have considered, so you can make the best possible plan for your estate
  • We are independent advisors. We can be an impartial voice at an emotional time.
  • When you use State Trustees to write your will, we keep your will safe, for free, in the State Trustees Victorian Will bank.
  • We’re easy to get to. We have sites throughout Victoria and we can come to you.

How is a will revoked?

Revoking a will simply means cancelling it. This can be done in writing or by destroying the will with the intention of revoking it. You can include a statement in your will revoking all previous wills and testamentary dispositions. This ensures there is no conflict about which will applies.

Where should I store my will?

You should store your will in a secure place and let your family and intended executor know where your will can be found.

For Victorian residents, the Victorian Will Bank offers a safe and secure storage solution for your will and enduring powers of attorney documents.

What is an executor?

Your executor will be responsible for managing your estate after you die and distributing it according to your wishes. It is often a time-consuming and demanding role. It can also be very emotionally draining, especially if your executor was close to you.

The executor of an estate must comply with various laws and rules that govern the administration of deceased estates.

What is a beneficiary?

A beneficiary is a person named in the will who receives all or part of the deceased estate. For example

  • your spouse
  • children and grandchildren
  • other relatives
  • friends
  • charities

What is intestate?

A person who dies without leaving a will is said to have died intestate.

If you don’t have a will, State and Territory laws determine who will benefit from your estate. The state will also determine who administers your estate. This can mean your assets might not be distributed as you want.