Rights as a Beneficiary of a Will
The people you name in your will to receive your assets have formal rights as a beneficiary of your will.
These rights include:
- Being informed about the will and the nature of their entitlement from the estate and any liabilities attached to these entitlements
- Being made aware of any legal proceedings or claims made against the estate
- Receiving their entitlement within 12 months of the deceased’s death, unless otherwise stated in the will
When You Should Write a Will
If you are an adult over the age of eighteen, you should seriously consider writing a will if you haven’t already. The following life events are also a good time to re-assess and possibly amend your will:
- Marriage or re-marriage. Keep in mind that getting married will revoke any pre-existing wills
- Entering into a serious de facto relationship or moving in with your partner
- Separation or divorce, which unlike remarrying, do not revoke previously written wills
- Buying a home, investment property or other significant assets
- Buying or starting a business
Disadvantages of Not Having a Will
There are many financial and personal disadvantages to not having a will.
If you die without a will (formerly known as dying intestate), the court will be left to decide how your estate and assets are distributed.
Not having a will also incurs additional costs that must be covered by the estate, leaving your loved ones with less than they would have received otherwise.
Without a will, the court will appoint a trustee executor to distribute your remaining assets according to a strict, pre-determined legal formula and may likely exclude loved ones you wished to provide for.
Making a legally binding will and keeping it up to date avoids the division of your assets being left to a stranger who knows nothing about you or your loved ones.