- A Will is a legal document that includes your wishes for when you pass away.
- There is no ‘right’ time to write a Will, as everyone has a different lifestyle.
- The law does not specify a time that people must do a Will and it is rather up to the individual person to make up their own mind.
- Generally, you must be over the age of 18 years or if you are under 18 years of age, you must be legally married or intending to legally marry.
What is a Will?
A Will is a very important legal document that speaks to your wishes when you are no longer here to speak for yourself. You may be asking yourself when the right time is to do a Will, however, there is not one single ‘right’ time that fits everyone’s lifestyle.
When can I make a Will?
People are mistaken and believe that they only need a Will when they have substantial assets. However, it is so much more than just the large assets you own, as it includes the smaller things such as your jewellery and sentimental items.
By law, the eligibility requirements for making a Will are as follows:
- You are over the age of 18 years; or
- You are under the age of 18 years, but:
- You are legally married; or
- You are intending to legally marry.
In order to make a Will, you are also required to have, what is called, testamentary capacity. Testamentary capacity means that you are able to demonstrate your knowledge about:
- The purposes of a Will;
- Details of your assets and liabilities;
- Which people are eligible to make a claim against your Estate; and
- Who you owe a moral or legal obligation.
It is suggested that people start thinking about getting a Will when their life changes. Generally, it is a good idea to prepare a Will in the following circumstances:
- When you own substantial assets.
- If you have a blended family and have specific wishes on where you would like your assets to go.
- Once you have been legally married.
- Once you have children, either biological, adopted or fostered.
- Once you have separated or divorced.
- If you enter into a de facto relationship.
The above list is not exhaustive, however, it is a good starting point when considering if it is the right time to draft yours.
What are the focal points of a Will?
As a general guide, a Will includes your wishes about the following aspects:
- Who you would like to be your Executor
This is the person that would control and manage your Estate by speaking with a Deceased Estates lawyer and carrying out your wishes.
- Who you would like to be your Beneficiary
This is the person that would receive a gift or benefit from your Estate and you will provide information in your Will about how much they are to receive in terms of monetary assets, a percentage or a specific tangible object.
- Any funeral wishes you may have
You may strongly believe in a particular funeral wish, such as a burial or cremation or you may even want to donate your body for medical research. Even though this is not a binding direction, it is important as it will give some direction to your Executor as to what to do when you are no longer here.
Lastly, it is important to remember that a Will is not a set and forget project. When your life changes, your Will needs to also.
This blog is merely general and non-specific information on the subject matter and is not and should not be considered or relied on as legal advice. Coutts is not responsible for any cost, expense, loss or liability whatsoever to this blog, including all or any reliance on this blog or use or application of this blog by you.