How to set up a Will

Stories | December 29, 2021

If you’re reading this article, it’s likely that you do not have a valid Will.

Well, you’re not alone. Currently, more than half of all Australians are in the same boat. Not all of us are fluent in ‘legalese’. And that can make the prospect of writing a Will in Australia pretty intimidating! Maybe you’ve been putting it off because it seems too difficult? Or perhaps you just don’t know where to start?

Please don’t despair. This article breaks down the process of setting up a Will into eight simple steps so you can see just how straightforward it really is!

1. Choose your Will type

In Australia, there are five different types of Trusts and Wills. You’ll need to do your research to decide which one is right for your situation. Some factors that can determine the type of Will you should write are your relationship status, the number of assets you own, the number of Will beneficiaries you wish to name, business you might control, and so on.

2. List your assets

When writing your Will, you’ll need to document and list all of your assets. This includes things like property and homes, vehicles, superannuation, bank accounts, life insurance policies, business partnerships, and any other personal items of meaning or value which you’d like to pass on to someone in your life. This process takes care and thought so we recommend making time to carefully consider and compile your list of assets before sitting down to write your official Will.

3. List your debts and mortgages

In the same way that you need to list your assets, you’ll also need to make note of your debts. That way you can allow for parts of your estate to account for the debt in your Will or (in the case of a house and mortgage) nominate a beneficiary who is responsible for settling the remaining debt.

4. Name your beneficiaries

You’ll also need to identify who of your family, loved ones and community will receive what assets. In other words, you’ll need to name your Will beneficiaries. Of course, you’ll want to ensure that your closest family and loved ones are looked after first and foremost, but you might also like to consider the ways in which you can use your estate to build a legacy that lasts for generations to come.

If one of your beneficiaries is vulnerable or has disabilities, you should discuss this with your solicitor so that you can ensure that your Will is written in such a way that it protects and provides for them. 

5. Choose an executor

An executor is someone who will carry out your last wishes as they are written in your Will once you have passed on. Your executor should be someone that you trust. They have the responsibility of collecting and distributing assets to the right people. If there is any debt to be paid in your estate, its resolution will also fall to your executor. In Australia, your executor doesn’t need to be your solicitor. You may also choose someone who you trust and know to be responsible. 

6. Choose a guardian

If you have children under the age of 18 years, you will need to choose a guardian for them in the event of your death. In most instances, the surviving parent automatically assumes the role of a guardian. You only need to name a guardian for situations where there is no surviving parent, or where the surviving parent is unable to care for your children due to some other factor.  

7. Include a charity in your Will

Leaving a gift in your Will is a wonderful way to show others, like your loved ones, what you value and consider important. When you include a Christian charity like CBM in your Will, it reflects your lifetime values of inclusion and justice for all. It’s also a wonderful testament to your loved ones and a decision that will continue to encourage them long into the future.

8. Signing the Will

Your Will isn’t valid until it has been signed in front of two witnesses. They must also be signatories.

Find out more

A gift in your Will is one of the most enduring gifts you can leave behind. It means your generosity lives on in future generations. If you’d like to know more about the work of CBM and how to support it with a Gift in Will, order your obligation free information pack today

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