How is A Will Made?
A Will is the legal document that records a will-maker’s wishes and instructions as to how his/her property, assets and belongings are to be passed on after death.
Making a WILL is a simple procedure. Legally, you must:
- Identify yourself and revoke previous wills
- Be 18 years or older
- Appoint at least one executor
- Specify at least one beneficiary and what is to be left to them
- Sign and date the WILL
- Have your signature properly witnessed.
The WILL must be hard copy with an original signature. No digital or electronic versions or signatures are currently legally valid (though that’s likely to change because of the COVID crisis), so that may explain why technology hasn’t improved the process to date.
The problems start, however, when you think of the contradiction between preparing a WILL as early as possible, as against the life expectancy of the average Australian, which is now 82.5 years. A lot can and does happen between the age of 18 and that final gateway out of this life. At a minimum, most people will or may marry, divorce, have children, see those children become adults, buy a house, accumulate some assets, retire, etc. All of these should prompt a review and update of the WILL. For a list of very normal WILL triggers see https://willhq.com/prompts-to-make-a-will/
Do You Need A Lawyer to Make a Will?
There is no legal requirement for a lawyer to draw up a Will. However, for anyone who needs more than a simple Will, using the services of a specialist lawyer is recommended.
The majority of people will leave their estate to close family, loved ones & friends, with possibly some contribution to good causes. They will normally wish to leave instructions as to funeral, burial or cremation. They may wish to give instructions regarding organ donation. Including these elements in a document will generate a Simple Will that is suitable for the great majority of people. willHQ.com is appropriate for anyone who wishes to create such a simple will.
The shortest legal Wills in recent history were one in Germany (Karl Tausch 1967) and one in India (Bimla Rishi 1991). Both were two words in the original language and three words in English (“All to wife” and “All to son”). They were valid as both were signed and correctly witnessed. While not recommended, these show that simplicity in Will-making can work perfectly.
What happens if someone dies without a will?
Very simply, if someone dies without a will one of two things will happen. If the person has no assets or property to leave behind, no legal procedure ensues. However, this is pretty rare in the world in which we live, so in the second instance, the appropriate Intestacy Laws (i.e. the law that deals with inheritance when there is no Will) apply.
willHQ.com does not provide any services in this area other than to state clearly that dying without a will leads to a situation in which those left behind will endure significant costs, delays and stress before the deceased’s estate is finalised.
There are many stories of distress and hardship resulting from someone dying without a will and that is the primary service we offer: peace of mind for both the will-maker and his/her family and loved ones.