Dying without a Will
If you die without a valid Will it can be a complicated and time-consuming process for your family and loved ones, and could result in unnecessary expense and hardship for them.
In Australia, the law sets out how a person’s assets are to be distributed if there is no Will. In other words, the Government will decide how your assets are to be distributed following your death.
Allowing the Government to decide who receives what out of an estate is a quick way to lead to unhappiness and fights amongst family members and loved ones. It can also lead to legal disputes which are extremely expensive. If a legal dispute does occur, all of the legal expenses are paid out of the assets of the estate first, so your family and loved ones would ultimately receive even less.
The legal term for dying without a Will is known as dying ‘intestate’ and the laws setting out how an estate is to be distributed when a person dies in this manner are known as the “rules of intestacy”.
Sometimes the rules of intestacy also apply if a person dies with a Will, but that Will is invalid. Reasons why a Will may be ruled invalid include:
* The Will fails to properly dispose of all the assets in the estate;
* The Will has not been signed and witnessed according to the law;
* The person who died did not have the mental capacity to make a Will; or
* The Will has been poorly drafted.
The only way to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, and to avoid potential legal disputes, is to make a Will with the help of a solicitor who is experienced in estate planning.
Having a solicitor draw up your Will helps to ensure that;
* Your Will is valid – that is, properly drawn, signed and witnessed;
* Your wishes are clearly expressed so as to avoid any disputes after you die.
If you are interested in learning how to ensure your wishes are followed when you die, please contact Lamrocks on (02)4731 5688 and speak to our specialist Wills and Estates team. At Lamrocks we have one of the few Accredited Specialists in Wills & Estates Law in the Western Sydney region, so you can be assured that you will receive the best possible advice.