Everyone should have a Will. If they don’t they can’t be sure that their assets will be distributed according to their wishes. It will also cost a lot for the court to decide how to distribute the assets and this means even less for the family once the decision is made. Family lawyers will tell you there are several ways to make a Will.
- You can simply write down clearly who of your family and friends should get what on a piece of paper and have it signed by two witnesses. This is a legal Will, but it can get lost unless you put it in a safe place. It can also get stolen and may even be changed. If you do write a Will like this it can be stored for free in the Public Trustee’s WA Will Bank, or leave it in your safe or a safety deposit box. The key to the box should also be kept safe.
- You can go to a family lawyer and ask him or her to draw up a Will. To do so, they will need to know what property and other assets you own. You will also need to make provision for a way to pay off any debts you have at the time of your death. This is usually done by selling some property or asset and using the money to pay the debt. What is left over can then be distributed as you see fit. This too, will need to be signed by witnesses.
- It is also possible to purchase a Will Kit from a newsagency and fill it out, then have it signed by witnesses. This will be a perfectly valid Will, but again, you must make proper arrangements for it to be kept in a safe place and so that it will be found after your death.
More points to know before drawing up a Will
- If you get divorced, you will need to make a new Will.
- If you die without a Will you will be declared to have died ‘intestate’. But if you have a Will that does not deal with the whole of your estate you will also be declared ‘intestate’, so it’s important to keep your Will up to date.
- When a person makes a Will on their own, they may not appoint an executor. That is, a person who will administer the estate and make sure each person gets what you have decided.
- The Will should also be dated. That will enable the executors to know it is the latest Will you wrote.
- The document should also clearly state it is the testator’s last Will and testament.