It’s Queensland Wills Week!
Are you getting married or celebrating the birth of a child?
It’s time to update your will.
When major changes happen in your life, thinking about your will might not be top of mind. But life changes such as a marriage, separation, divorce, birth of a child or grandchild or significant changes in personal finances can impact on your will.
The Public Trustee of Queensland Samay Zhouand said it’s Queensland Wills Week and we are reminding Queenslanders about the importance of having an up-to-date, valid will.
“It’s vital that Queenslanders are aware that major life events can have a significant impact on your will, and in some cases can render your will invalid.
“For example, your will becomes invalid if you get married or enter into a civil partnership,” he said. “It needs to be updated if you separate, divorce or end a civil partnership or a de facto relationship.
As people come in and out of your life, your wishes may change. Having a valid will that reflects your current wishes not only reduces the burden on your loved ones, but it can also reduce family conflict and delays in settling your estate.”
Research shows each year around 20 per cent of Australians die ‘intestate’, which means without a valid will.
The Queensland laws of intestacy (dying without a valid will) are outlined in the Succession Act 1981. If you die intestate, your estate would firstly go to your spouse or de facto partner and then to your children. If you have no spouse or children, the estate would go to your parents and then to your siblings and their children.
“At the Public Trustee, we see many cases where a person dies without a valid will and their estate is passed on, under the laws of intestacy, to a beneficiary who the deceased person may not have chosen.”
Queensland Wills Week is held annually to raise awareness about the importance of planning ahead. This includes helping Queenslanders to understand why they need a will, the life changes that can impact your will, and what can happen if you die without a valid will.
This year the event is held in collaboration with Queensland Law Society, the peak representative body for the legal profession in Queensland.
Queensland Law Society President Luke Murphy said teaming-up with the Public Trustee for Queensland Wills Week was an opportunity to help educate Queenslanders about the complexities of succession law, as well as the value of planning ahead.
“A will is a legal document that should be prepared by a solicitor. There are more than 500 of our members that work in the area of succession law and 45 of these are Accredited Specialists in this area.
Having an expert prepare your will now in a considered way provides peace of mind that in the future a proper distribution of your estate happens, limiting any potential debate about what your will means,” Mr Murphy said.“Solicitors in Queensland can be easily located via our Find a solicitor or Find an accredited specialist search tools on our website. “We urge anyone who is making or updating a will to get specialist advice to protect you and your loved ones,” Mr Murphy said.
Mr Zhouand said by understanding the importance, we hope to ensure more Queenslanders have a valid will and prioritise advance life planning.
“Making sure your wishes are known ensures your estate is distributed the way you choose, and protects and supports the people you love.
“We recommend everybody seeks professional advice to make an informed decision about their individual circumstances. This can be done through a local solicitor, a legal firm specialising in succession law or the Public Trustee.”
For more information or to make an appointment with the Public Trustee visit www.pt.qld.gov.au
For more information about advance life planning visit www.willsweek.com.au