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How do you write a Will?

If you don’t have a Will, it might be because you’re not sure how to write a Will. To write a Will you need to decide who you’d like to receive your possessions, your bank balances, shares, crypto currency, property, land, superannuation and any life insurances (often part of your superannuation), care of any children, and list that information in a Will. Once you’ve put your afterlife wishes in a Will that’s been witnessed, it becomes legally binding. A Will makes sure your things go to the people you choose, not the ones the legal system decides.

What information do I need to put in my Will?

Wills can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be. We’ve put together a comprehensive list to give you some guidelines on what to put into your Will. Take a look below at the top seven things to include when you’re writing a will.

1. Who gets your money, possessions and property? Think about who you would like your possessions and any financial assets to go to. Assets like property, savings, shares, cryptocurrency, superannuation and life insurance. These can be significant amounts. When you’re doing your Will you also need to check that your superannuation lists a benefactor for the funds to go to when you pass away. Then your best friend Mary gets your favourite things not your neighbour John who says you promised him everything!

2. Who will supervise and action the terms of your Will (Executor)? Wills need a project manager, and that project manager is called an Executor. Decide who you trust to carry out the wishes you write into your Will. Executors can be family members, friends, even your solicitor can be your Executor. That way your older brother who you’ve not spoken to in 10 years won’t get that red corvette you promised to your partner.

3. Who will be your backup Executor? Make sure you have a backup Executor in case anything happens to your first choice. Having two Executors also provides accountability when the proceeds of your Will are being handed over.

4. Who will look after your children? If you have kids under 18 they will need someone to take care of them. Think about who can care for your children as you would like them to, discuss it with the potential carer and make sure they are okay with taking on that responsibility. It’s also a good idea to talk to them about what financial assistance could be available to them to help raise your children.

5. What you would like to happen to your body after death? Do you want a church or civil service, burial or cremation? Special songs and other special arrangements can be explained in your Will. Have you got a favourite song, do you want your ashes scattered in your favourite place, your organs donated? You can specify all of these things in your Will and take the pressure of your mum and your partner in having to decide.

7. What liabilities do you have? Do you have outstanding personal, car or mortgage loans, credit cards, bankruptcy? Don’t forget that any money you owe companies, banks, government or other sources will be paid out of your assets before anybody else receives any benefits from your Will. Property or goods may have to be sold to cover your liabilities or debts before any assets are given out.