What is a will?
The will is the most important document in the estate planning process. The main two aspects that are covered in the will are:1. Who will be in charge of your estate upon death; and
2. How are your assets to be distributed upon death.
Unfortunately, if you pass away before executing a will, your assets may not be distributed in accordance to your wishes.
What is an Executor?
If you have a will, an executor/executrix will be nominated within it. Amongst their many responsibilities, this person is responsible for the funeral arrangements, distribution of assets and any tax liabilities of the estate.
Being an executor is quite a responsible role, so care should be taken when deciding whom this person should be. The particular person needs to be trustworthy, competent and most importantly, prepared to take on the role.
What happens if I die without a will?
If you pass away without a will you are said to have died "intestate". Under this situation statutory provisions in each state and territory within Australia operate to determine who will inherit the assets.
Under this situation, the next of kin who is entitled to the largest share of the estate applies for Letters of Administration. This means that the person is applying to be appointed by the Court as the administrator responsible for the administration of the estate.
The fundamental rule of intestacy is that the estate will pass to the next of kin of the deceased. Most states prefer spouses and children of the deceased, with no regard for the deceased's wishes.
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