Consulting a Soul Legal lawyer in regards to your will helps reduce the risk of loved ones facing a potentially stressful and legally complicated estate distribution or dispute after you’re gone.
Over 150,000 Australian deaths were registered in 2018, according to a report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, but it’s believed around half the adult population of Australia does not have a valid will.
What is a will?
According to the West Australian Government, “A Will is a legal document that describes how you wish your assets to be distributed upon your death”. In Western Australia a will must meet a number of requirements to be considered valid.
Why do I need a will?
If you die without a will, you have no say when it comes to distributing your life’s belongings and assets. Keep in mind a note, email, conversation or video footage recording your preferences does not constitute a legally recognised will in Australia. In some circumstances a court may choose to recognise these types of documents or recording/s, but it is not guaranteed.
What happens if I don’t have a will?
Passing away without a will is known as intestacy, and your estate will then be distributed in accordance with Section 14 of the Administration Act 1903 (WA). A will helps avoid a final distribution of assets that may not align with your wishes.
What are the requirements of a will?
For starters, a will can only be recognised if the person is 18 years of age or older, of sound of mind, and not under undue influence. The signing of a will must be dated, and witnessed by two adults. A lawyer can advise you further, based on your estate. A document which meets all of the above criteria, will still not necessarily be a valid will.
Can I just write a will myself?
Yes. The issue is that a simple error risks invalidating the document. A will may also be contested on other grounds. A Soul Legal lawyer can offer counsel as to whether the division of your estate is likely to be challenged in court and how drafting your will legally can minimise the chance of a challenge being successful.
What are the benefits of using a lawyer to make a will?
Engaging a member of the Soul Legal team to draft your will ensures the agreement is legally binding in Australia. Our lawyers have the experience and knowledge to help you avoid any technical errors that would see a will declared invalid.
Why are wills challenged?
There are a variety of reasons. For example, the Family Provision Act 1972 allows dependants to challenge division of assets where one party perceives that they are disadvantaged in their life circumstances relative to other beneficiaries and require greater provision by your estate, or are likely to receive less than other beneficiaries. Legal consultation helps minimise the chance of your will’s validity being questioned.
Can any lawyer draw up a will?
Experienced wills lawyers understand the intricacies of estate law, and estate planning, and will be able to answer your questions in an informed way. This is especially important when you have complex assets or a complicated family history.
What can a will include?
The list is long (and even covers pets). What a will cannot encompass is also relevant. Soul Legal lawyers elaborate on areas of concern such as trusts, superannuation, overseas property, extended family rights, and extensive assets.
How can Soul Legal help?
As Perth lawyers with decades of combined experience, we’re dedicated to meeting the legal needs of the West Australian community. When it comes to legally documenting your final wishes. Our focus is on helping protect your legacy.
We offer wills drafting that is cost-effective while providing peace of mind for you and your beneficiaries. If requiring lawyers for wills, please make contact with the Soul Legal team to organise a consultation.
Director / Partner Soul Legal