A will is a valid legal document, which upon death, specifies the beneficiaries and the distribution of property and possessions.
There are some technical requirements to help form a valid will – for example, it should be in writing, signed and witnessed by two independent people. A will can also be invalidated by certain events, such as a marriage or re-marriage.
If someone dies without a valid will, there are risks that your estate may end up in lengthy and costly legal battles. Assets can also be distributed according to the laws of the State – rather than your intentions. This is known as dying ‘intestate’.
Intestacy laws have a formula for allocating estate assets to spouses, children and other relatives. Not only do these laws vary from State to State, they also adopt different definitions and meanings. As an example, the team ‘spouse’ in Queensland can include de-facto partners if they have lived together for the last two years. Each state has their own rule.