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Anyone who is at least 18 years old can make a will.
A person who is under 18 may make a will if he or she is, or has been married, or is or has been in a civil union or de facto relationship.
Others who are under the age of 18 can make a will if given approval by the Family Court, or if they are in the military, or are a seagoing person.
If it is later proved to a court that a person who made a will, or changed a will, was not at the time, competent to manage his or her affairs, in relation to his or her property, the court can decide that the will made by that person is invalid.
If you die without leaving a will, you are said to have died "intestate". In that case, the law specifies how your property will be distributed. This will usually be to a surviving spouse or partner and your immediate family, or to close relatives, in set proportions.
This may not be what you would have wished or what your family wants, and it could involve them and your estate in the cost and effort of making a claim in court. If there are no relatives who are in the categories listed in the law, then your estate goes to the State.
Your lawyer or a family member can still administer your estate if you have not made a will, but only according to the law. It is usually much more expensive and time consuming to do this, than it would have been if you had left a valid will.
Even if you don't own much property, it is wise to have a will. Probably the best reason to have a will is to save your family some of the trouble and expense that occurs when a person dies without leaving a will. It can add considerably to the time, expense and trouble that is involved in tidying up the affairs of a person who dies, if the person dies without leaving a will.
You should make a will when you marry or enter into a civil union or a de facto relationship. When you have children, it is especially important to have a will.
Because of the importance of your will, the law says it must be made in a prescribed manner. The LawOnline system ensures that you will make a valid will, as long as you carefully follow all of the advice that you are given by the LawOnline system and carefully follow all of the steps that you are advised to take.
For each will, there can only be one person whose will is being made. Two people cannot make a single will together. They must each make separate wills.
The usual reasons for establishing a family trust include:
The trustees are the legal owners of the trust property and can do the same sorts of things with the trust property that any owner can do. They can hold property, raise mortgages, open and operate bank accounts and generally hold all types of assets and investments, as long as they operate according to the powers set out in the trust deed.
The legal services and advice that you can access from this website is provided by Mark Smith of ANZ Lawyers.
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