A good family lawyer is the best people to deal with when making a Will. They’ll ensure it is all done in a way that is legal and they can also keep the Will in a safe place for you. However, a Will can still be valid when it is drawn up by you alone, so long as it is signed, dated and signed by at least two witnesses. That said, there are some things that cannot be included in a Will and others that can be, but you may not even think about them.
Two things that cannot be include in a Will
- Life insurance payout. You will have to name a beneficiary when you take out the insurance and this will supersede any Will.
- This too, has to have a beneficiary named on it, so it is not included in a Will.
A Will is not always about cash and property. Other things that can be included in a Will
- Organ transplants and disposal of your body
- Executor’s payment
- Who should occupy your home – if it’s not to be sold
- Gifts to charities
- You can release a debt that is owed to you
- You can also appoint a guardian for a minor, but this may not be done according to your Will.
Important points about Wills
If you marry after making a Will it becomes invalid, so you must make a new one. However, if you are contemplating marriage when you make it, you can say it is made in contemplation of marriage and it will not have to be done again. However, it is a good idea to get legal advice from your family lawyers to ensure everything is valid.
Some people think it is enough to add a codicil to change a Will, but Legal Aid WA does not recommend this course of action. It is far better to make a new one. If you prefer to add a codicil it is essential to get legal advice to ensure it complies with all the same rules and regulation of the Will. For instance, it must be witnessed and signed for a start.
How about divorce? This too will cancel your Will unless you specifically state in it at the time of making that you don’t want it to change if you divorce. Remember that nothing should be pinned or otherwise attached to a Will.
Some estates are quite complex and specific wording is required in the Will to ensure it is valid. This is where the services of a family lawyer can be invaluable and indeed, should be sought to ensure all your wishes regarding your estate will be followed to the letter after your death.