Do you have your Will ready? Here’s what you need to know

Have you been thinking about creating a Will but haven’t had the time?

At Colledges, we’re working right alongside our clients supporting them to manage and grow their financial spheres. We get involved in their financial successes as well as their challenges, their growth and succession planning. Therefore, we’re in the perfect position to see what happens when a Will and/or succession planning are not in place.

Whether you are young or old, single or married, a Will sets out your wishes should anything happen to you, and it does not need to be a long, expensive or difficult process.

We’re currently involved in a number of scenarios where clients did not have a Will in place, or where the Will was incomplete or not able to be properly executed. The weight of this on the beneficiaries has been enormous. To make matters worse, it has cost a lot of time and money which has come out of the person’s inheritance.

Here are some common questions we get asked about Wills to help you understand the importance of preparing and lodging a Will.

How valid is a Will on a piece of paper?

We’re asked this question often. Can I write a Will in my journal or on my laptop? These Wills are not as valid and legally sound as a properly executed Will. A Will written on paper would need to be tested and checked and this would probably need to go to court for validation. This costs additional time and money which someone has to pay for and it’s probably the beneficiary. A Will written in this manner can also be more easily challenged.

What happens if you don’t have a Will in place?

There are several things than can happen when a Will is not in place. Families can change and people move on or pass away, and new partners and their children come into the picture. The rules can change considerably in these situations and if a Will is not in place, you may end up with unwanted results.

It is estimated that up to 50% of Australians do not have a valid Will. When a person dies without a Will, their Estate is governed by what are known as the intestacy provisions in the Administration and Probate Act. These provisions allow the Estate to be administered in the absence of a Will and set out the chain of entitlement to the deceased’s Estate. While dying without a Will would not leave your Estate ‘in the lurch’ indefinitely, relying on the intestacy provisions instead of making a Will may lead to unintended consequences.

Spouses, partners, de-factos and other types of domestic partners may all factor when distributing assets in a Will. This informative article, written by Claire Stollery from Tony Kelly Lawyer, explains what can happen if there are multiple partners and children with no Will in place.

Read: Dying without a Will

What options do you have for developing a Will?

The best option is to engage the services of an experienced solicitor who specialises in Wills. This process may not cost as much as you may think. At Colledges Accountants + Advisors, we have a network of trusted professionals to help our clients with matters such as these.

You can also download a Wills pack and do it yourself. Services Victoria provides a Will writing service as part of State Trustees of Victoria and you can find out more here.

There are a number of other Will providers online and you may like to start with this Choice article to find out more about online options.

Online or DIY Wills can be effective if you have a fairly simple financial structure and needs. But if you have various assets and income, then we recommend you see a solicitor. It’s a small up-front cost for long term peace of mind. A solicitor will consider all your wishes thoroughly and make sure they are clear and easily executed.

If the Will is not prepared by an experienced solicitor, there is the risk that it can be challenged or will need to be validated. This is a costly process in time and money with unintended taxation consequences.

How can Colledges Accountants + Advisors help you?

We act as a chairperson for the family and help guide you on the best way to structure your Will. We also offer help with succession planning during this process. We look at Wills from the point of view of tax effectiveness, that your superannuation is protected, whether it is appropriate to have a testamentary trust or whether you need a corporate structure. We work with your solicitor to put together a comprehensive Will to cover all aspects of your finances and to ensure the Will clearly states your wishes.

If you don’t have a Will yet, talk to Colledges about getting started

Please call the team at Colledges on 03 9851 6500 or email us at to start the conversation. We’re here to help you with Wills, Estates and Succession Planning and we have a large and trusted network of professionals such as financial planners and solicitors should you need it.

Come and experience the Colledges Advantage for yourself.