What is a Will? Can I Do My Own?


A will is legal document that sets out your instructions on how you wish your assets (your estate) dealt with when you die. In the document:

You appoint one or more persons to be your executors to handle the administration of your estate and ensure that your debts and funeral expenses are paid, and to arrange if necessary for your assets to be liquidated and distributed to your nominated beneficiaries, or if you leave specific items, your executors must arrange for them to be transferred to those beneficiaries
You may leave instructions as to any specific funeral, burial or cremation requirements you may have, for example by specifying the type of religious or other service preferred
You may establish trusts for beneficiaries who may not have attained 18 years of age or may suffer from some disability
You may provide for alternative executors or beneficiaries in the event that they predecease you
It is wise to review your will every few years to ensure that it still represents your wishes.

Certainly there are will forms or kits available at newsagencies or on the internet. However, although to the lay person the drafting of a will may appear to be a simple matter, ordinary words may not in many cases have the legal meaning you intend. The law of wills interpretation dates back centuries and can be quite complex. By making your own will you risk the chance that your will may be taken to have a quite different meaning than you intended, or be ambiguous, and application to the Supreme Court would then have to be made by your executors, involving your beneficiaries in uncertainty, delay, expense and distress.

Above all, a will is the most personal of documents and should be tailored to the individual, something that is rarely possible with a standard kit or newsagent will form of the "one size fits all" category.

Having your will professionally drawn means that your solicitor will discuss with you any particular factors that might apply to your personal circumstances and assets. There are also certain formalities to be observed in the execution of wills and your solicitor will ensure that it is correctly signed and witnessed

Disclaimer: The information contained on this page is of a general nature only. You should always consult a solicitor for legal advice on specific circumstances and facts

F C Bryant Thomas & Co
Lawyers
3/21 King Street Rockdale 2216
9567-0288

email: admin@bryant-thomas.com.au

web: www.bryant-thomas.com.au