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What Are The Best Wills To Have?

writing a will

When it comes to planning for the future, ensuring your assets are safeguarded and distributed according to your wishes is crucial. In Australia, understanding the different types of wills available can be vital in making informed decisions about your estate. From simple wills to more complex structures, knowing which will suits your needs best is where estate law attorneys come in handy.

Read on as we delve into the world of wills, shedding light on the various types prevalent in Australia and identifying the best options for different circumstances. Whether you’re just beginning to consider estate planning or looking to reassess your current arrangements, understanding the landscape of wills can provide clarity and peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

What Are Wills & Why Are They Important?

A will, simply put, is a legal document that lays out your wishes for what happens to your belongings after you’re gone. It’s like a roadmap for your loved ones to follow, ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

Having a will is crucial, especially when it comes to estate planning and asset distribution. Without a will, the fate of your estate could be left in the hands of the courts, which might not align with your intentions. Estate law attorneys often stress the importance of having a will to avoid complications and ensure your wishes are honoured.

a will is a legal document

Types Of Wills

Simple Will

A simple will is a fundamental legal document that outlines how your assets will be distributed upon your death. It is typically straightforward to create and is suitable for individuals with uncomplicated estates. 

In a simple will, you specify who will receive your assets, appoint an executor to carry out your wishes, and may designate guardians for minor children if applicable. 

While simple wills are cost-effective and easy to understand, they may not adequately address complex family situations or tax considerations. For instance, if you have substantial assets or blended families, a simple will may not provide the level of protection you need. Despite their limitations, estate law attorneys often recommend simple wills for young couples or individuals with modest estates due to their accessibility and affordability.

Testamentary Trust Will

A testamentary trust will is a specialised type of will that establishes a trust to manage assets on behalf of beneficiaries after the testator’s death. Unlike a simple will, which distributes assets outright to beneficiaries, a testamentary trust will provides greater control over how assets are distributed. This type of will is particularly suitable for high net worth individuals or those with complex family dynamics. 

One of the key benefits of a testamentary trust will is its ability to offer tax benefits and asset protection. By placing assets in a trust, rather than distributing them outright, beneficiaries may enjoy tax advantages and creditor protection. 

Compared to other types of wills, testamentary trust wills offer flexibility and can be tailored to specific needs and circumstances, making them a preferred choice for individuals seeking comprehensive estate planning solutions.

Joint Will

A joint will is a legal document created by two individuals, typically spouses, that outlines their combined wishes for asset distribution upon their deaths. Unlike separate wills, which each spouse creates individually, a joint will consolidates both individuals’ wishes into a single document. This can simplify the estate planning process for couples by articulating their mutual intentions regarding asset distribution. 

However, joint wills come with limitations and potential drawbacks. For example, because both spouses’ wishes are combined in one document, a joint will may lack the flexibility to accommodate changes in circumstances, such as remarriage or divorce. Additionally, joint wills can create legal complexities and may not adequately address individual preferences or concerns. 

Consequently, wills and estate law attorneys often advise against joint wills in favour of alternatives that offer more flexibility and control over individual assets, such as mutual wills or separate wills.

couple writing up a will

Statutory Wills

A statutory will, also known as a court-made will, is a type of will that is created under specific legal guidelines outlined by statute. These wills are typically used in situations where individuals lack testamentary capacity or are unable to draft a will themselves due to physical or mental incapacity. 

Statutory wills must adhere to strict legal requirements to be considered valid, and they are often subject to court approval. While statutory wills provide a solution for individuals who are unable to create a will conventionally, they may not address all individual circumstances or preferences. 

Estate law attorneys can assist in determining if a statutory will is appropriate and legally valid in a particular situation. Additionally, statutory wills may be subject to limitations and may not offer the same level of customisation as other types of wills.

Choosing The Right Type Of Will

When it comes to planning for the future, selecting the best will is crucial. Consider these factors before deciding:

Complexity of Assets: Determine if your estate includes properties, investments, or businesses.

Family Situation: Reflect on family dynamics, including marital status and dependents.

Legal Requirements: Check the legalities of will types in your jurisdiction.

Flexibility: Assess if you need the will to accommodate potential changes in circumstances.

Cost: Consider the expenses associated with drafting and maintaining different will types.

Making an informed decision ensures your wishes are properly documented and honoured.

Reach Out To Our Wills & Estate Law Attorneys Today!

When it comes to securing your future, there’s no question: wills and estate law attorneys are the go-to experts. Seeking professional advice from these legal pros ensures your wishes are properly documented and legally binding. 
At McDonnell Schroder, our team of dedicated will and estate law attorneys are here to guide you every step of the way. Don’t leave your legacy to chance—reach out to us today and gain peace of mind knowing your affairs are in the best hands possible. Let’s safeguard your future together.

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