Wills & Estate Planning FAQ'S

What is a Will?

A Will is a legal document containing instructions and wishes as to how your property and assets are to be distributed after your death, and who is to benefit from your estate.

Why should I have a Will?

A Will allows a person of your choice to be appointed as the executor of your estate. Your executor is then in charge of administering your estate in accordance with the terms of your Will. Having a Will also allows you to nominate a guardian to care for your children. 

Who can make a will?

Anyone over the age of 18, and anyone under 18 who is married or contemplating marriage, can make a will, provided they have testamentary capacity. Persons under the age of 18 who are unmarried can make a will with the approval of the Court. This is recommended for young people who are earning large sums of money for example in sporting, show business, the music industry or in business. 

What happens if someone dies without a Will?

The law decides how your estate is distributed if there is no will.  If there is no valid Will an application must be made for ‘letters of administration’. This will allow the nominated person in the letters of administration to act similar to an executor, with authority to distribute the estate. However this distribution must be in accordance with the law and there is no guarantee it will be as you wish. It is an expense and stress that can easily be avoided by taking the time to draft a valid will.

What Is the difference beteen a Living Will & a Last Will & Testament?

Creating a living will is not quite the same as making a Last Will & Testament. A Last Will & Testament is something that you do in order to have your wishes carried out after you have died. A living will, differs in that it pertains to events while you are still alive. For example any medical treatment you wish to receive or not to receive should you become incapacitated through illness.  

What is an Executor of a Will?

If a deceased person has left a Will an executor will be appointed to be the deceased’s personal representative in administering the deceased’s estate.

Who should I appoint as my Executor?

When making a Will choosing the right executor is an important decision. It is possible to appoint more than one executor of your Will however one or two is usually enough. You should notify your chosen executor/s so that they are fully aware of their legal responsibilities. It is possible to appoint your Solicitor to be the executor of your Will. In this case the Solicitor may charge for services performed in the administration of your Estate.

What is a Power Of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is an important legal instrument which gives power to a person/s to manage your financial affairs whilst you are still alive.