Writing a Will can seem like an intimidating and complicated process, causing many people to put it off for some other time. Many wrongly believe they have insufficient assets to require a Will or that it’s only required for those nearing the end of their life. But the truth is, it’s never too early to start planning ahead, and a Will is something everyone should have in place.
However, writing a Will isn’t just about detailing the distribution of your estate. It’s a valuable tool that gives you the power to ensure your funeral is planned how you would like, specify gifts to loved ones or charities, and to leave any final message for those that remain.
Contrary to common belief, creating a Will doesn’t have to be a complicated and expensive process that involves lawyers. In fact, with services like Willed, you can create a tailored, legally valid Will in under 15 minutes.
So, what are the next steps to get started?
A Will is a document outlining any final wishes you may have and is a legally binding deed that ensures your wishes are carried out when it comes to the distribution of your assets. It usually involves the appointment of an executor to manage the distribution of your estate, the nomination of beneficiaries who will receive any of your assets and potentially guardians who will care for your minor children or pets.
Writing a Will for the unfortunate event of your passing is the best way to look after your loved ones in death by clarifying your final wishes and avoiding confusion, fees and disputes.
Accidents happen, and everyone should have a Will prepared for the unfortunate yet inevitable event of the end of life.
To be eligible to write a legal Will, you must be:
If you meet these two criteria, the next step is to research the options available to you on how to write your Will.
There are multiple ways to write your Will, however, when making your decision, there are important factors to consider. Using a lawyer or solicitor may be suitable if you have large, complex estates, but this is usually quite a lengthy and costly process. On the other hand, DIY Wills are easily accessible and cost-effective, but if completed incorrectly, they may be found invalid and cause more harm than good.
An easier, stress-free way to create your legal, valid Will is online. Online Wills are an effortless and affordable option to ensure your last wishes are carried out. Digital platforms such as Willed guarantee your information is kept secure and provide a straightforward questionnaire with step-by-step guidance to help you through each section. You can also have peace of mind knowing that a team of legal experts can check over your data before you sign the official Will. To establish your Will as legally binding, you will need to print and physically sign each page of the document along with two witnesses who are over the age of 18 and are not listed on the Will.
To make the process as smooth and easy as possible, it’s a good idea to write a list of your assets and debts before you begin to write your Will.
Create a full inventory of your estate, and outline specific instructions for each item. This list should encompass savings accounts, shares debts, physical assets and gifts like vehicles and property, and anything else you wish to include for your beneficiaries.
However, it’s important to note you cannot list anything you don’t own outright such as any joint assets you may own like joint accounts, joint-owned property and life insurance.
Choosing an executor is a crucial element of the Will writing process. An executor holds all the responsibility of managing your estate and bestowing your assets among your listed beneficiaries. You’re not limited to nominating just one executor, but when deciding, you should assign the authority to someone you trust to act in your best interest.
If this isn’t available to you, there is also the option of appointing a professional third-party service as your executor to assure objectivity when administering your estate and eliminate any possible disputes.
When creating your Will, you will need to specify who you would like to add as beneficiaries of your estate. A beneficiary is usually a loved one, for example, your spouse or partner, children, close friends or family. If you wish to leave any gifts to charities, known as a bequest, this is where you would name them.
Naming your beneficiaries is an important step to make sure the individuals listed receive a part or all of your estate.
An estimated 50 per cent of Australians will pass away without having a legal Will, this is known as dying intestate. In the unfortunate event of your passing where there is no legal Will, your estate will be distributed in accordance with the intestacy laws in your state.
Dying intestate means the primary beneficiary will default to your next of kin and your estate will be split between your kin. In the instance that you don’t have any remaining family, your estate will fall to the state or territory public trustee.
By arming yourself with the knowledge of everything you need to write your Will, you have taken the first step in guaranteeing your estate is handled to your satisfaction while you rest in peace.
And the good news is, writing your Will no longer needs to be a costly and lengthy process. You can save thousands of dollars compared to the cost of using a lawyer by writing your Will online.
To help you get started, we have partnered with Willed, Australia’s leading end-of-life specialists, to give Starts at 60 readers an exclusive 20% off their online Wills – available for a limited time only.
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial or legal situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product or legal advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial or legal decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services or legal advice.