Making a will - Executors and will writing


However, there are some people whom you can no longer totally disinherit. A husband or wife, an unmarried former spouse, a child, including an illegitimate child or one who is an adopted or de facto child, or anyone whom you maintained immediately prior to death can all apply to the court after your death if the will does not make reasonable financial provision for them. The court can then change the will to make such provision.

Remember too that those who survive you will have to live with any inequalities or perceived unfairness in the will.

After you have decided on any specific amounts of money or items of property that you wish to give to specific individuals, the balance or residue of your estate will normally pass to one person or to more than one person in equal (or sometimes unequal) shares.

In some cases, the main beneficiary in a will dies at the same time as or before you. A husband and wife may be killed together in an accident, for example. So it is sensible to include provision in the will for such an eventuality.

If a husband and wife simply make wills leaving everything to the other, a joint death will leave them as if they had made no will at all. The rules which apply in such cases are complex and are explained below.

If the beneficiary is your son or daughter and they die first, any child or grandchild of theirs will inherit instead. In other cases, anything left to a beneficiary who dies before you simply goes into the residue of your estate. The beneficiary's relatives cannot inherit on their behalf.

More information

Making a will - Executors What You Own

The next step is to write down what you own with approximate values. You may be surprised at what it amounts to. You can get an estimate of the value of your personal possessions from the insurance policy for your house contents. Make sure that you include the value of any life insurance policies and, of course, the value of your home after any mortgage has been redeemed. If you are married, remember that much of your property is jointly owned and that only half the value is yours.
Who Inherits?
Normally it is a straightforward matter to decide who inherits your property. You make a few special dispositions of small items to named people � grandchildren, perhaps, or friends � and then leave the balance of your estate . . . ... see: Making a will - Executors What You Own