With the festive season coming up, now is a good time as any to think about family and friends and who might benefit from your Estate after you die. This applies for both younger people and older people alike.
The best way to ensure that your estate is distributed according to your wishes is to make a valid Will and regularly review the Will to ensure it is up to date.
If someone dies without a valid Will, they die ‘intestate’. The testator’s estate is then distributed according to the “Rules of Intestacy”.
Until recently, I like many other young adults had not made a Will. In the event of my death, the “Rules of Intestacy” would have been applied to govern the distribution of my estate.
Schedule 2 of the Succession Act 1981 (Qld) states that if the testator is not survived by a spouse/de facto partner or child, the testator’s parents are entitled to an equal share of the estate. If not survived by either parent, the testator’s next of kin, which could be a brother or sister, is then entitled to the estate.
The Rules of Intestacy apply regardless of whether spouses are separated, parents are estranged from their child or siblings are not on speaking terms.
By making a valid Will and continuing to update it as circumstances change, I can now be satisfied that my estate will be distributed according to my wishes.
I encourage anyone over the age of 18 to consider making a Will, especially those in blended families or those estranged from members of their family. It is then important to regularly review and amend your Will as personal circumstances change throughout your life.
At the same time you are considering making a Will, you should also turn your mind to the issues of Superannuation. It is important to understand that Superannuation is usually dealt with separately from other assets of your estate. To ensure that your superannuation entitlements are paid according to your wishes, you should consider putting in place a binding death benefit nomination. This can be achieved by contacting your Superannuation provider and lodging the necessary documentation to have your chosen beneficiaries nominated as legally binding nominees.
If you do not have a valid Will in place, and would like advice on the effect of the Rules of Intestacy on your estate or would like to make a Will, please make an appointment to see one of our solicitors.