If you own any assets in your name and you wish to choose who receives them after your death, then you need to draw up a Will. If you choose not to, the Administration and Probate Act 1958 can dictate how your property and assets are distributed. This can create unwanted legal, financial and emotional burden on your next of kin – the best thing to do is to draw up a Will.
There are several types of Wills that you can prepare, and the right one for your circumstances will depend on a number of factors. The main types are Simple and Complex Wills.
What’s the difference between a simple Will and a Complex Will?
A Simple Will generally leaves lump sum payments to your beneficiaries. For example, if you have three children, you may want them to each receive a one-third share in your estate. On the other hand, a Complex Will has all the hallmarks of a Simple Will, except that it also has other elements, such as testamentary trusts or disability trusts.
This “one-size-fits-all” Will is applicable in all circumstances. While a Simple Will can still do the job of distributing your estate to your beneficiaries, you may need a Complex Will for other certain benefits.
A Complex Will is appropriate if:
- You own valuable assets where estate taxes will apply
- You want to establish a Special Disability Trust for a disabled child
- You have a previous spouse
- Your beneficiary is likely to receive $500,000 or more
- You expect to add to your assets
- You own a business
- You want to set up a trust that allows your children to receive a certain amount of money after a certain age
About Simple Wills – what do I need to know?
When people hear the word ‘Will,’ they may be thinking of a Simple Will. This type of legal document involves executors doing everything needed to make sure your beneficiaries get what they are entitled to under your Will.
Some of these entitlements include a part of your estate (by set figure or percentage) or bequests where you leave money to charity, or assets (such as jewellery) to a granddaughter.
A Simple Will may become Complex due to the level of detail that an individual may want in the document. For example, there may be multiple gifts or different distributions in special circumstances.
What do I need to prepare for a Simple Will?
When preparing a Simple Will, the following information is needed:
- Who will be your executor?
- Who do you want to leave everything to? For example, will it be your children, your spouse, your nephew, or charity?
- If something happens to that beneficiary, then who will receive your estate?
- If you have minor children, who will look after the children if both you and your spouse/partner die?
- Do you have any gifts you want to give to people or charities?
- If you have a pet, do you want to make arrangements for them?
About Complex Wills – what do I need to know?
A Complex Will has other elements such as Testamentary Trusts or Special Disability Trusts – or both. For example, in the instance of if you and your partner have a disabled child, and you may need to set up a Special Disability Trust. Note that having a business or a previous spouse does not make a Will Complex.
What do I need to prepare for a Complex Will?
The information needed to prepare a Complex Will is generally the same as what is required for a standard Will. However, there may be some additional documentation for a disability trust – for example, Centrelink documentation that is not included in the Will but is required by the Government.
Rose Lawyers can assist you with your Will preparation
Just like all legal matters, it is important to consult a lawyer when you are preparing a Will because it is a legal document that has specific requirements that need to be met to ensure that it is binding. Have your Will prepared by a professional at Rose Lawyers – with over 35 years of experience in dealing with Will and Estate matters, we can determine your wishes, direct you through any potential issues that may arise, and offer important insights.
Julie is an admitted Solicitor in the Supreme Court of Victoria. She has a range of experience in Civil Litigation, Commercial Law, Family Law, Taxation...
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