Most importantly, a proactive step must be taken to ensure your loved ones are protected as your wishes before the worst thing happens.

What is a will?

A will is a legal document that outlines how you would like your assets to be distributed when you pass away and who you would like to appoint as the responsible person to carry out your business.

Why do I need a will?

In the State of Queensland, if you die without a will, the law will decide for you by setting out the rules for distributing your assets. This means:

  • Your assets (estate) will not be distributed as you wish, and you lost the chance to arrange properly for your loved ones
  • Your under-aged children will be cared by a guardian appointed by the government
  • Your loved ones may deal with the government with stress and grief
  • It may cost your estate or take longer time to finalise the estate distribution

If you are incapacitated or in a coma after a major accident without a will, the State of Queensland will designate an administrator to make decisions for you, such as paying for your medical expenses using your assets.

What does a will cover?

A will may cover the below items:

  • The guardian(s) for your children
  • Who is the executor – the person who will be responsible to pay your creditors, sort out your assets, and distribute to your beneficiaries
  • Be buried or cremated
  • Which person you want your special personal items be gifted to
  • How to deal with your real properties; whether you wish to allow your loved ones to live in the property for life
  • How to deal with your digital properties, such as social media

What is the executor(s) of a will?

The will executor(s) is appointed under your will to carry out your wishes. Will executor(s) should be someone entrusted by you. Most people appoint their spouse, close relative or solicitors to be their executor(s). You can appoint joint executors for a maximum of 4 people. Executors will cooperate to carry out your will.

What are the duties of a will executor?

If your will is contested, your executor(s) is in charge to defend your will.

This is the reason why you must appoint your executor with great care.

Can an executor of a will also be a beneficiary?

Yes, an executor can also be a beneficiary.

What if a will beneficiary is not happy with the executor?

If you are the beneficiary of a will, and you feel the executor failed to carry out duties properly, or had a conflict of interest, or acted improperly, you have the right to bring an application to the court to have the executor removed.

Is my will valid?

A will can only be valid and able to demonstrate the testator’s wishes accurately if it is drafted correctly.

A valid and legally protected will is normally in writing and signed by the testator and witnesses.

Ascent Lawyers will exert due care and experience to best protect your wishes in your will.

Can I use an online kit to draft my own will?

You may encounter many uncertainties by using an online will kit, such as:

  • Not a valid Will
  • The information of a family member is incomplete
  • Poor drafting which does not reflect your wishes

People may dispute the uncertainties in their will at the costs of their estate.

Legal advice is essential to minimise the chances of future litigation in relation to your will.

How can you help to draft my will?

When you engage Ascent Lawyers to draft your will, we will go out of our way to make sure your will is valid and:

  • Complies with important drafting formalities, execution and attestation
  • Is made by a person with testamentary capacity
  • Deal with your assets as you wish and properly appoint executor(s) to be admitted for probate
  • Your previous will(s) has been revoked
  • Remind you that you need to make Superannuation death benefit nomination

As a will beneficiary, or potential beneficiary, I feel I am left out, what can I do?

If you feel that you are left out in a will, it is important to obtain legal advice from a lawyer who is experienced in contesting a will of a deceased estate.

To properly contest a will, you need to make an application to the Court and seek order within the time frame.

The Court will only hear your case if it is not settled in negotiation or mediation.

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