CONTRIBUTED BY THE PUBLIC TRUSTEE
Your Will is an opportunity to have your final say on the legacy you wish to leave behind and helps to protect your family’s financial future. But research shows that almost 50 percent of Queenslanders do not have a valid Will.
The Public Trustee is suggesting that Queenslanders speak with a professional to develop a Will to ensure that all of their wishes are met.
Public Trustee and CEO, Samay Zhouand, said many Queenslanders may be unaware that stepchildren and stepsiblings are not automatic beneficiaries of an estate unless they have been included in the Will.
“Having a Will is one final way we can communicate our wishes with our loved ones and ensure your legacy can live on through the next generation,” Mr Zhouand said.
“Where a person passes away without a Will, Queenslanders’ assets would be distributed according to Intestacy Law and may not represent what a person wanted for their legacy.
“A Will is not only a way to share your wishes, but also an opportunity to protect and provide for your loved ones, such as your stepchildren, or stepsiblings, after you have passed away,” he said.
To support Queenslanders to have a greater understanding of possible consequences of not having a valid Will in place, the Public Trustee created a series of illustrated stories based on real intestacy cases in Queensland.
In one of the illustrated stories, Karen and James form a relationship where James becomes a father to two stepchildren. Karen’s Will gave clear instructions to leave the estate to James and her children, but when James passed, he did not have a valid Will.
Although James would have wanted his assets to go to his stepchildren, without a valid Will, his assets were distributed as per the Succession Act 1981 and provided to an estranged relative that lived overseas.
Research suggests many Australians that do not have a Will, say they have been meaning to do it, just have not had time.
Mr Zhouand encourages Queenslanders to set aside some time to create a Will and help protect their family.
“People who plan for their future and talk to their loved ones about their life plans avoid the hardship and stress for their families at an already difficult time.
“Creating or updating a Will is easy to do through your local solicitor, legal firm or practitioner that specialises in Succession Law, or you can contact the Public Trustee for more information,” he said.
Queenslanders can learn more about Intestacy Law and explore the illustrated intestacy stories by visiting the Public Trustee website: www.pt.qld.gov.au.
To access the illustrated case studies of intestacy, including the story of Karen and James, visit: https://www.pt.qld.gov.au/wills/wills-week/queenslanders-stories/