While some may view it as a taboo subject, death is a fact of life and a will is arguably the most important document you will ever sign as it helps make sure your wishes are carried out and your loved ones are provided for after you are gone.
Because when you die, everything you own - and everything you owe - becomes your ‘estate’ and is covered by the Wills Act 2007.
A well-drafted will can reduce emotional and financial strain for your loved ones after you pass away and it reduces the likelihood of family members disputing your estate and challenging your will.
On the other hand, dying without a will is also known as dying ‘intestate’.
This means that the Administration Act 1969 determines how your property is distributed, which may not align with your wishes, and may result in disputes over your estate.
Generally, the property is distributed to a surviving spouse and family members in specified proportions. This process can be more time consuming, costly and complicated than having a valid will.
Without a will, the court appoints your personal representatives such as your family member or lawyer to administer your estate as executors, commonly known as administrators, of your estate.
However, if that person does not wish to be the administrator, others can be appointed by the High Court. Your administrators can still administer your estate if you die intestate, but they will be restricted by the Administration Act 1969.
If there are no family members to distribute the estate to, it then goes to theGovernment.
In short, it can be very time-consuming.
We strongly recommend seeking legal advice and, if you haven’t already, creating a will to ensure your intentions are accurately recorded with no room for ambiguity.