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Making a Will

Why make a will

I know this is an area I prefer not to think about, and one I therefore avoid, but if something were to happen to me, I would want to make life as easy as possible for the other half and the kids, and a will can help with that.

Having a valid Will in place will ensure that when you die your estate will be distributed amongst your loved ones in line with your wishes. If you don't have a Will, an administrator is appointed to manage your estate. The administrator might be a family member but is often a government Trustee.

Without a Will, your assets will be distributed according to current legislation, and the law will determine who will look after your children, if they are still minors.

A Will can also be used to appoint a guardian to look after your children until they are old enough to look after themselves.

Having a Will allows you to nominate an executor, who is the person who will take charge of your affairs after your death.

If you die without a Will, this is called being 'intestate'. This type of estate is harder to administer and will take longer to finalise, increasing the cost from your estate and meaning your beneficiaries have to wait longer to receive their entitlements.

What is included in a Will?

In a Will, you state who is the beneficiary of your assets and you can detail specific gifts as well as make a general statement as to who will receive the remainder of your assets.

Importantly, you can also specify what will happen to your children if you and your husband or partner were to pass away. You can nominate guardians for the children and detail how your assets will be managed on behalf of the children. You can also set up a trust for those children.

Think of the stress it will save if it has been agreed up front who will care for the children in your absence.

You can also include instructions for your burial or cremation in your will.

When making a will, it is also useful to document your assets. For example, my partner and I met in our 30s, so we'd both had previous lives and both have investments and bank accounts, life insurance policies etc, that we set up before we knew each other. I know my partner has some shares, but I couldn't tell you exactly who with or how many. He knows I have an endowment policy, but again he wouldn't know the details. If things like this are listed with your Will, it makes the practical aspects of a very emotional time, so much easier.

Who should make a will and when?

Everyone over the age of 18 should have a will, but there are particular times in your life when it is most important. Some examples are:

  • if you get married, as this revokes any existing will
  • if you get divorced, as this does not automatically revoke an existing will
  • if you make a significant purchase such as a house
  • if you change your beneficiaries e.g. a beneficiary dies, or you have a child

Husbands and wives, or partners, are required to have separate Wills, although you can have a 'mirror' Will, which is the same terms but just in reverse.

Options for making a will

There are a number of different ways of setting up a Will.

Will forms

You can purchase a Will form for singles or a couple from your local newsagent. This allows you to put a basic will together without requiring input from a lawyer. You do need to ensure you get it witnessed to make it a legal document - a will needs to be signed in the presence of two witnesses who must be adults over the age of 18 and who are not beneficiaries or spouses of beneficiaries in your Will.

There is no requirement to register your Will, but you should keep it in a safe place and let the executors of the Will know where it is. A Will should not be amended in any way after it has been witnessed, as this may make it invalid.


There are a number of web sites that allow you to make a Will on line. They may have some restrictions, such as not being able to set up a trust, as this is something you need to do with a lawyer, but they provide the requirements for a basic Will, and will tell you some more about the background and requirements. The ones I have found are charging less than A$30 for a basic Will.

To find a recommendation, look at


If there are any complexities to your Will, it might be best to talk to a lawyer, as this will ensure you set things up correctly. For example, setting up a trust for your children, or allowing flexibility in your Will to allow for future children.

An 'estate planner' can give you advice on how to set things up to be most tax effective, and advise on complexities such as capital gains tax on property or superannuation payouts.

More Practical Help:

Budget Options

Are you spending too much money? Do you want to cut back but you're not sure where. This section includes some suggestions to keep the budget on track. (more)


You probably have home or contents insurance or car insurance, but what about Life Insurance or Income Protection Insurance? If you're an at home mum or working part time, there is probably one main income earner. If anything happened to them, how would you survive financially? (more)


Just because you are not working full time anymore, doesn't mean you should be ignoring your superannuation. There are couple of things you should be aware of that could help with those retirement savings even while the kids are small. (more)

Saving for your Child's Education

The cost of education is going to be one of the main expenses going forward. In order to reduce the burden of education costs, you can look at the options for starting to save right now. (more)

Government Benefits

Are you aware of the Government benefits for families and what your entitlements are now you have children, even if your partner earns a decent income? (more)



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