Do I need a will?
It depends on what you want to happen after you die. If you do not have a will, the distribution of your estate is governed by the rules of intestacy. In the ACT, those rules are found in the Administration and Probate Act 1929 (ACT). In general, the first $200,000 is paid to your spouse plus 50% of the balance. The other 50% is paid to your children (if any).
If you have a will, the distribution of your estate is governed by the terms of your will.
Top Ten Things to Consider When Making a Will
Your beneficiaries are those who will inherit your estate assets when you pass away. You should also consider substitute beneficiaries in the event your primary beneficiaries do not survive you.
Your executors are appointed to administer your estate in accordance with your Will. You may appoint your primary beneficiaries or someone else you trust.
You can gift specific belongings to certain people. You may also prepare a list of personal belongings to accompany your Will if you have yet to decide what to gift and to whom.
Properties owned jointly do not form part of your estate. It will immediately be transferred to the other owner upon your passing.
You may express whether you would like your organs to be donated. You may also specify whether you wish for your organs to be donated to the body of a living person and/or for medical research purposes.
Disposal of your Body
You may express how you would like your body to be “disposed of”. Common choices include burial or cremation.
If you have minor children, you should appoint guardians for your children in the event their other parent or guardian does not survive you.
Contemplation of Marriage
Wills are effectively revoked upon marriage or divorce. If you contemplate marriage with your partner, you may express in your Will that it is in contemplation of that marriage.
Superannuation is a non-estate asset, and therefore cannot be managed by your Will. You may need to complete a Binding Death Benefit Nomination to ensure that your super is paid out to your chosen beneficiaries.
Enduring Power of Attorney
An Enduring Power of Attorney appoints a person you trust to manage your property, personal care, health care and medical research matters in the event a medical practitioner observes that you have lost your decision-making capacity. FGD can also assist in drafting an Enduring Power of Attorney along with a Will, in the form of a package.
The most common questions around wills are answered below.