4 min read

Five Essential Steps When Creating a Will

Creating a Will is the most important step toward making sure your wishes are honoured and your loved ones are protected beyond your death. When you write a Will, it’s about more than just paperwork; it's a gesture of care, foresight, and compassion. Deciding how your possessions stay behind and how you want to be remembered can feel like an overwhelming responsibility, so let’s go over the essentials before we write a Will.

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Step One: Understanding What a Will Is

A Will, also known as a Last Will and Testament, is a legal document that communicates an individual’s wishes for how their property, children, pets, and other loved ones will be dealt with and cared for in the event of their passing.

Without a Will, your estate is subject to the laws of intestacy relevant to your state or territory- these rules may not align with what you would have wanted, so it’s vital to record your wishes in a Will to prevent potential distress and hardship for your loved ones.

Step Two: Choosing Beneficiaries

Deciding who benefits from your life’s work is a key part of creating a Will. Whether it’s family, friends, or a charity or organisation close to your heart, think deeply about the impact of your legacy.

Clarity and specificity in your choices can prevent misunderstandings and ensure that your wishes are executed smoothly. While family members often come to mind first, expanding your bequests to include friends, mentors, and charitable organisations can magnify the impact of your legacy.

Bequeathing assets to a charity, for example, can help further a cause you care about long after you're gone.

Step Three: Selecting a Trustworthy Executor

The executor of your Will plays a pivotal role in bringing your Will to life. This responsibility involves the management and distribution of your estate while ensuring your wishes are respected and followed.

Choosing just one or two people you trust, who are familiar with your values and who you are as a person, can be a difficult decision. Your executor should be someone reliable, trustworthy, and capable of handling the responsibilities and tasks that come with the job.

Step Four: Securing Your Children’s Future With Guardianship

If you have minor children, or guardianship over another person, creating a Will allows you to appoint a guardian for their care in the event of your passing. This decision ensures they are cared for by someone you trust, reflecting your parenting values and wishes for their upbringing.

You should consider your prospective choice’s lifestyle, values, and willingness to accept this responsibility, and think about naming an alternative or backup guardian to safeguard your children’s future stability and care.

Step Five: Regular Reviews and Updates

Life is full of changes—new family members, evolving relationships, and shifting priorities. Regularly reviewing and updating your Will after changes in your life helps ensure it remains a true reflection of your wishes.

A proactive approach to your end-of-life plans will keep your Will relevant and aligned with your unique and personal circumstances.

Protecting the life you've built is the most valuable thing you can do.

The Impact of Creating a Will on Your Loved Ones

Creating a Will is both an act of love and of responsibility. It’s about leaving behind a legacy that reflects your life, values, and the care you have for your loved ones. It can help prevent undue financial, legal, and emotional stress on the people you care about most, giving them the space to grieve your loss and celebrate your memory without pressure.

You’re not just creating a document; you’re crafting a clear path for the future, making sure your wishes live on, and your loved ones are cared for in the ways you’ve envisioned.


How often should I update my Will?

You should review and update your Will after any significant life events, such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, or a substantial change in assets.

What happens if I die without a Will?

Dying without a Will (dying intestate) means your estate will be distributed according to a government defined formula and the laws of your jurisdiction, which might not align with your wishes. This can lead to costly legal issues for your loved ones, as well as substantial emotional distress or potential familial conflict.

Can I change the executor of my Will after it’s been made?

Yes! You can change the person you’ve nominated as your executor by updating your Will. It's important that you inform the new executor and confirm they’re willing and able to take on the responsibility.

Can a Will include instructions for my digital assets?

Yes, you can include instructions for digital assets, like your social media accounts. You should be clear about what should happen to these accounts (e.g. do you want them deleted, memorialised, etc) and provide all the necessary access information.

Last updated 18th March 2024
Laura Barling
For Charities
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