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Wills and Estates Lawyers Can Help Protect Your Belongings

Wills and Estates Lawyers Can Help Protect Your Belongings
When people die, they leave behind their businesses, properties and belongings. This is called their estate. Most people would like to choose how their things are divided after they’ve passed away. A Wills and Estates Lawyer can help ensure that the things you own will be distributed to the people you care about when you die.


When you make a Will, it removes the doubts and difficulties that can come up when there is no evidence of a person’s wishes.


What Is a Will?

A Will is a legal document that sets out how your estate is to be distributed after your death.


Anyone over the age of 18 can make a will, as long as they have the mental capacity to do so.  There are rules about how Wills should be made which ensures that there is no misunderstanding that you wanted to give your property to the people you say.


Under the Will, an executor is appointed to collect all your assets, pay all your debts and distribute your estate in accordance with your Will.


Why Should I Have a Will?

Making a Will allows you to provide for the people you care about, leave particular things to certain people, leave specific instructions, and appoint a person you trust to carry out the instructions in your Will. For example, if a person would like specific funeral arrangements, they can set that out in their Will and appoint a person they trust to take care of their wishes. A person can also choose to make a gift to charity from their estate by specifying the amount of the donation and the beneficiary in their Will.


How Do I Know My Will Is Valid?

A Will must be signed and witnessed properly in order to be legally valid. The Will maker must sign the Will first in front of two or more witnesses who are all present in the same place, at the same time. Then, the witnesses who have attested will sign their names to confirm that the Will maker’s signature was genuine and was not forced.


When making your Will, it is important that all of your intentions and instructions are expressed clearly in order to reduce the likelihood of any discrepancies over how your belongings are to be distributed.


A Will generally lasts until you die. However, you can make changes, make a new one, or revoke your existing one. It is important to seek legal advice when a situation arises where you need to update your Will. If you have children or grandchildren, or someone in your family passes away, it may be necessary to change the terms of your Will.


A marriage or divorce may also nullify your Will. If you plan to marry or divorce, seek legal advice about your situation.


What Happens If I Don’t Have a Will?

If you die without a Will, you will not be able to decide how your estate is distributed.


In states like New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland or Western Australia, dying without a Will is called ‘dying intestate’. When a person dies without a Will, their estate is distributed to their relatives according to a legal formula called the intestacy rules. This can cause complications, disputes, delays and extra costs for your loved ones after you are gone.


If you die and have no relatives closer than a first cousin, your estate may be given to the government.


Making a Will is an important decision that can help you provide for your loved ones and protect your estate. Wills and estates lawyers can make sure that your wishes are expressed clearly and also advise on any tax issues that you need to consider when drafting your Will.

Estate Lawyers vs DIY Kits

Most people begin to research legal services online. A quick search results in "do it yourself” or DIY sites that offer a quick and cost-effective option for estate planning. Don’t be fooled into these DIY kits as they can compromise the integrity of your estate, leaving your loved ones in a vulnerable and emotional state. Instead of clicking on the DIY link, click on the link leading you to an experienced and qualified legal team specializing in estate law.

Those left behind who disagree with your final wishes and question the validity of your will may contest it. If any of the intricacies of estate law are overlooked in a DIY will, the executor would have to work with a lawyer to put the will before a court in probate. Probate is the process of applying to have a person’s last will and testament reviewed by the courts to prove it is valid. Taking a more cost-effective approach to preparing a will now may lead to legal fees depleting the estate once you have passed away. Wills and estates lawyers will take the time to review your assets and debts and take the time to walk you through the process now. Completing a DIY kit online may be quick, but the online form can not provide you with sound legal advice that will protect your estate and therefore your beneficiaries.


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