Do you have a will?  If so, have you reviewed it recently?

What is a will?

You simply must have a will, no matter how wealthy or healthy or apparently unwealthy or unhealthy you may be.

A will is a formal document by which you can legally determine what happens to your assets when you die, which as you would appreciate can come at any time.

Who can make a will?

Anyone who is over 18 and of sound mind must have a will and even if you have a will you should review your will from time to time particularly if your circumstances change.

What happens if you do not make a will?

If you die without a will, you are said to have died intestate.  The effect of that is that the State then dictates how your estate is to be distributed, not you, so in effect you are letting the State, in general terms, make that decision for you.

The impact that this may have on your family can be potentially devastating.  For example, if you have a spouse and children under 18, the first $100,000 of your estate goes to your spouse, and the rest of your estate is divided 50-50 between your spouse and your children whose share will then be held in trust for them by Public Trustee.  A very messy situation that could cause financial hardship to your spouse and to your children.  Why take the risk?

Should you review your will?

You should review your will every few years and particularly if your circumstances change such as marriage, separation, divorce, entering into or exiting from a de facto relationship, the birth or death of spouses or children, when your asset holdings change significantly, going into business, setting up a family trust, an impending bankruptcy – the list is endless.

Important facts about wills

Here is an important list of facts about wills that you must know:

  • Marriage revokes a will
  • Divorce revokes any gifts you purport to make to your former spouse, but not the will itself
  • It is possible for minors and people with mental incapacity to have wills – called statutory wills

How we can help

We will give you advice in relation to whether or not you need to review your will.

We provide the following services in relation to wills:

  • Advising you and preparing your will that suits your needs and circumstances, as part of an overall estate plan;
  • Giving you advice about the possible need for a power of attorney, power of guardianship and/or medical power of attorney;
  • Reviewing and updating your will in the event of any change in the law or your personal circumstances;
  • Holding your will and other important estate documents in our will bank at no charge to you;
  • Writing to you every couple of years to remind you of the fact that you might consider reviewing your will.

It is a disturbing fact that nearly one half of Australians do not have a will (and many Australians have will kit wills which in some circumstances may be worse than having no will at all) and we have seen the impact on South Australian families when a loved one has died prematurely and intestate.  Don’t be another sad statistic or legal case study; call Di Rosa Lawyers now on 8354 2233.


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