A will is a written document that is signed by a person, witnessed by two other people who also sign, by which that person disposes of their assets after their death.
With over 30 years’ experience with wills, Tony Laumberg can provide you with an effective, reasonably priced will.
Matters that you should consider before giving instructions for your will include:
- Your executor – This is the person you appoint in your will to administer your estate. It is usually a beneficiary and you can have more than one;
- Whether you would like to leave any specific legacies such as an amount of money or a particular asset to a person;
- To whom you would like to leave the residue of the estate and whether they are to take in equal shares or otherwise; and
- Whether to appoint a guardian of children under 18.
Others matters to note are:
- You can change your will at any time;
- A will is automatically revoked if the maker of the will marries unless the will is made in contemplation of marriage;
- Divorce of the will maker will only revoke a gift to a former spouse or their appointment as an executor, trustee or guardian in the will; and
- You can leave your assets to whoever you like but under the Succession Act 2006 you have an obligation to provide adequately for certain eligible persons including your spouse, children and various dependants.
After someone dies Tony Laumberg, with his over 30 years’ experience, can assist you with the steps that need to be taken including:
- Determine if the deceased person left a will. This can be done by locating it at the deceased’s lawyer’s office or bank or by searching through their personal papers or their home;
- If you are appointed as an executor under the deceased’s will i.e. appointed to administer the estate so that the debts are paid and the assets distributed to beneficiaries then you will need to apply for a grant of Probate from the Supreme Court. This is a court order confirming the will is valid and giving you authority to deal with the estate;
- If there is no will then a beneficiary, according to the rules of intestacy under the Succession Act, or even a creditor can apply for Letters of Administration under which an administrator is appointed by the Supreme Court to deal with the estate;
- Whether you are an executor named in the will or a person wishing to apply to be an administrator you need to make a list of all of the deceased’s assets including real estate and money in bank accounts as well as all of their debts as this information must be included in an Affidavit forming part of the application to the court; and
- Once either Probate or Letters of Administration are granted the executor or administrator must collect in all the assets of the estate and pay the outstanding debts before distributing the assets to beneficiaries.