Wills

What is a Will?

A Will is an important legal document and your opportunity to specify your wishes to your loved ones after your death. A Will lists whom you would like your
estate All of the property, possessions and money you own
to go to and the person or organisation you have chosen to carry out your wishes (executor).

What is a beneficiary?

A beneficiary is a person or other
legal entitycharity or philanthropic organisation
that benefits from your Will; they receive gifts as specified in your Will.

What is an Executor?

An executor is a person or organisation named in your Will to carry out your wishes after your death. Your executor needs to pay all your debts and taxes before
distributinghanding out gifts as per the terms of the Will
your
estateAll of the property, possessions and money you own
to your
beneficiariespeople/other legal entity who receive your assets/gifts/estate
as specified in your Will. Estate administration is another term used for executor responsibilities. For more information, please see Executor Services.

What can I put in my Will?

What you put in your Will is totally up to you. If you make your Will with a Solicitor or the Public Trustee, you can ask questions to help you decide what is best for your circumstances. Writing a Will gives you peace of mind and the opportunity to:

  • Name guardians for your children
  • Establish a trust to provide for young children or a person with a disability
  • Provide for the care of any pets
  • Express your wishes about your funeral arrangements
  • Give money to charity or philanthropic organisations.

Someone has forced me to write a Will or change my Will

No one can force you to write a Will or change your Will. Your Will is your choice, as is how your
estateAll of the property, possessions and money you own
is
distributed handing out gifts as per the terms of the Will
. It is illegal for anyone to force you to write a Will or to change your Will. If someone has forced you to write or change your Will, there are a range of support services available at Elder Abuse Helpline or call 1300 651 192. from the Office of the Public Guardian, or call 1300 653 187. You can also see How we help to protect Queenslanders from elder abuse.

What makes a Will legal?

In Queensland, a Will must be in writing, signed and dated in the presence of two witnesses over 18-years of age. Your witnesses cannot benefit from your Will or know someone who may benefit from your Will.

Can a Will be cancelled?

Yes, a legal Will can be cancelled when it is replaced by a new Will or, it is
revokedofficially cancelled
. A Will can also be cancelled by changes in your personal circumstances such as marriage or starting a de facto relationship, separation, divorce or ending a de facto relationship.

When should I make or update a Will?

Everyone over 18-years of age can/should make a Will. It is important to think about updating your Will when:

  • You get married or enter a de facto relationship
  • You separate, divorce or end a de facto relationship
  • Children or grandchildren are born
  • Your
    executorperson/organisation named in your Will to carry out your wishes after your death
    or a
    beneficiarypeople/other legal entity who receive your assets/gifts/estate
    dies
  • You buy or sell property
  • Your financial circumstances change significantly.

What happens if I die without a Will?

If you die without a Will, you are said to have died ‘intestate’ and in Queensland, the Public Trustee becomes responsible for your estate; unless someone else is granted what is called letters of administration. The Succession Act 1981 (Qld) sets out rules for who receives your
estateAll of the property, possessions and money you own
if you die intestate based on your personal circumstances at the time of your death. Tracing
beneficiarypeople/other legal entity who receive your assets/gifts/estate
of intestate estates can take additional time and may attract additional costs that are deducted from your estate prior to distribution. For more information on fees and charges, please see Deceased Estates fees & Charges.

I have been named the executor of a Will, what do I do?

An executor is responsible for carrying out the wishes of the deceased as specified in their Will. An executor needs to pay all debts and taxes before
distributedhanding out gifts as per the terms of the Will
the estate to
beneficiariespeople/other legal entity who receive your assets/gifts/estate
. Estate administration is another term used for executor responsibilities. For more information, please see our step-by-step guide on How to be an Executor.

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Last published: 3/08/2020 3:11:16 AM