Wills: What You Need to Know
How Can I Protect What I Love?
The best way to protect the people and assets you love is to make sure you have a valid, up-to-date Will.
If you pass away without a valid Will, you are said to have died ‘intestate‘. Dying without a Will can mean your estate may not be distributed in the way that you would wish.
Dying without a valid Will is also likely to increase the time and cost involved in administering your estate. It can create unnecessary stress and anxiety for your loved ones at a time of grief while increasing the potential for disputes to arise.
What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document that outlines how you would like your estate distributed when you die and appoints the person who will be responsible for the administration of your estate. The people who receive your estate are referred to as your beneficiaries.
When making your Will, you can do more than just specify how you would like your estate distributed. You can nominate guardians for your children (if they are aged under 18 years), and set up trusts for the care and support of particular beneficiaries in the event of your death. You can also specify your preferred funeral arrangements and make gifts to one or more charities of your choice.
When Do I Need to Update My Will?
A Will should be a part of your life’s journey, so it needs to be updated as your life changes. It is recommended you review your Will regularly and make a new Will whenever your personal circumstances change.
Life events such as divorce, the birth of a child, marriage, entering or ending a de facto relationship or civil partnership, death of a spouse or partner, or death of a beneficiary, can all impact your Will.
Dying with an out-of-date Will can cause serious administrative, legal, and financial difficulties for your loved ones. It can also lead to disputes, which can end up escalating into a very expensive legal process and be counter to the legacy you intend to leave.
Is a Homemade Will Sufficient?
Homemade Wills can be dangerous. If you do not prepare a homemade Will accurately or have it witnessed correctly, it can result in your Will being invalid or challenged in court.
We recommend that you make your Will at no cost through the Public Trustee with our experienced Will-makers or engage a properly qualified lawyer.
Is Creating or Updating a Will Expensive?
Often the cost of creating or updating a Will can be in the hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars. However, in Queensland, the Public Trustee offers a no-cost Will preparation service to the Queensland community. This service is not means-tested, so it is available to all Queenslanders. Don’t believe the myths – there are no hidden fees associated with this service.
The Public Trustee has been preparing Wills for Queenslanders since 1916. By making your Will through the Public Trustee, you are not obliged to appoint the Public Trustee as your Executor, although many people choose to do so.
How Can I Access No-Cost Will-Making Services?
You can make your Will at no cost through any of the Public Trustee’s 15 offices across Queensland. If you do not like in a region where the Public Trustee has an office, the Public Trustee may have an outreach service available through your local courthouse or Centrelink office.