A Will is a legal document that expresses a person's wishes regarding how their personal property and financial assets will be dealt with after their death. It allows an individual, called the testator or will maker, to specify who will receive their personal property and financial assets, how much each beneficiary will receive and under what conditions.
The Will only comes into effect only upon the testator passing away and can be changed at any time up until the death of the person, provided they continue to have legal capacity.
The Will should contain among other things the following:
- Executor/s – These are the person or persons that the testator nominates to act on their behalf upon their passing to carry out their wishes in the Will. These people will effectively step into the shoes of the testator and have the legal capacity to deal with the testator’s affairs in the same way the testator could have done so prior to their passing.
- Alternative Executor/s – These are the person or persons that the testator nominates as an alternative to the Executor/s in the event that the Executor/s either predeceases them or is unable or unwilling to act. If their Executor/s are alive and willing to act the Alternative Executor/s is not required to play any role.
- Guardian/s – In the event that the testator has children or other individuals who are under the age of eighteen (18) and in their care they can nominate one or more persons to be the guardian of their children or other individuals to care for them upon the testator’s passing until they reach the age of eighteen (18). This nomination while not binding does give guidance as to the wishes of the testator.
- Beneficiary / Beneficiaries – These are the individual or organisations which are nominated by the testator to receive the testator’s personal property and financial assets. The testator can determine specific personal property and financial assets to go to specific Beneficiary or may give an entitlement to a Beneficiary of a percentage of the personal property and financial assets.