Your Will’s step-by-step online questionnaire isn’t complicated and will step you through everything you need to know for completing your will. It will not take very long but before you get started, here are a few things to think about.
Who should be your executor?
Your executor is responsible for managing your estate and carrying out the terms of your will. The executor can be a spouse or partner, a relative, or a friend. It does not matter that the executor is also a beneficiary of the will. You can have more than one executor.
Jointly held assets
A rule of survivorship applies to jointly held assets. This means that on the death of one joint owner the interest in the asset automatically passes to the surviving owner. The deceased person’s interest in the asset does not form part of his or her estate and is not dealt with by the will.
Your last wishes
Writing a will is a time to consider funeral arrangements and express your wishes regarding burial or cremation. Often your funeral will take place before your will is read so we recommend that you discuss your wishes with your loved ones or executor.
Naming a guardian
If you have children, or are thinking about starting a family in the future, you can nominate a guardian or guardians in your will to take care of your children if both parents were to pass away. The nomination is not legally binding but acts as a statement of your wishes.
Specific gifts and your residuary estate
You can make specific gifts such as a gift of jewellery or a specific cash amount.
Your residuary estate is the assets that are remaining after payment of your funeral, debts, taxes and other expenses and the distribution of specific gifts. You can distribute your residuary estate to one or more beneficiaries.
If you have a life insurance policy you should check who the owner of the policy is. If you are the life insured and the owner of the policy then the proceeds will be paid to your estate and dealt with by your will. However, you may be the life insured but someone else may be the owner of the policy (for example, your spouse or a child). In that case, the policy proceeds will be paid directly to the owner of the policy and not to your estate.
Your superannuation benefits can be paid to your dependants or to your estate. Your will only deals with your superannuation benefits if the trustee of your superannuation fund pays the benefits to your estate. You should contact your superannuation fund to check if you can make a nomination of a beneficiary and whether this nomination will be binding or non-binding. If so, you should obtain legal advice about your options.