Planning For Your Absence – Do You Have A Will?

This post is sponsored by Nuffnang.

A number of years ago, Mr I and I were in the final stages of packing for a weekend away without the kids. We were going to be flying to our destination and it all of sudden dawned on me – we were both going to be on the same plane; what would happen to the kids if something happened to us?

We were part of the 55 per cent of Australian parents with children under the age of 18 without a Will. So the night before our early morning flight, I wrote an email to our chosen guardian advising her that we wanted her to look after the kids if something was to happen to us. Not exactly planned, well organised or legally binding!

We had a great weekend away and we purchased a generic DIY Will kit when we returned home, but it fell into the too hard basket and we never completed it. One of my favourite things about blogging is how it keeps me accountable and organised! Being asked to be part of the awareness campaign for I Will Week, brought the issue of our lack of Will to my priority list again.

I Will Week runs from 17 to 23 June 2013 and this year asks the question, “Love it? Will it.” Our kids are the most precious thing we have and we need to make sure, should anything happen to us, we have legally documented how we would like them to be looked after.

This time we downloaded a State Trustees Legal Will Kit to complete (one each). A single kit costs $29.99 and can be downloaded online. It comes with a fantastic Will Planning Guide, which takes you step by step through the sections you need to complete to make a comprehensive will. This kit suits only those who have straightforward circumstances. The infographic below will give you an idea if it is for you or not.

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The Will Planning Guide has a personal details schedule template to print out and fill in which is the best place to start with the Will creation process. It might be tempting to head straight to the actual Will template and fill it in, but your Will will be far more comprehensive and useful if you work through the personal details schedule first. The schedule helps you gather and think about all the information you will need to make your Will, including amongst other things listing your assets, incomes, debts and the details of key people affected and involved with the Will.

The section on funeral instructions prompted a surprising discussion between Mr I and myself. It has a tick box component for burial or cremation. Mr I went to tick off cremation, which was the first I had ever heard of this being the type of funeral he wanted.

We had a discussion on how I couldn’t bare the thought of having him cremated if I was to survive him and my preference for a burial. He said he didn’t feel particularly strongly either way, therefore would be happy to note his funeral instructions as burial. I am glad we have this sorted now!

It can be overwhelming to put together such a legally binding document on your own, but the Will Planning Guide includes a FAQ section and a sample Will to reference, which gave us the confidence that we could do it ourselves.

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Once we had collated all our relevant personal details, completing the documentation for the Will itself took only about 20 minutes. The Will must be signed and dated in the presence of two witnesses for it to be legally valid, so don’t sign it until you have your witnesses with you! Like many official documents, the pen you use is important – you and your witnesses must use the same pen to sign all the pages of the document.

The State Trustees will store your Will in The Victorian Will Bank for free if you choose to nominate State Trustees as the Executor of your Will, otherwise if you want your Will stored at the Will Bank there is a once off $39 deposit fee.

If you think your Will is more complex than can be handled by a Will Kit, as part of I Will Week 2013, State Trustees is offering Victorians a special one-off deal for those who sign up their first Will with State Trustees – 30% off the standard price of preparing a consultative Will. You can see the pricing schedule of the State Trustees here and conditions of the discount offer at

If you live outside of Victoria, investigate your local public trustee to see what Will services are available.

Free advice on how to write your Will

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State Trustees solicitor and Will writer, Kevin Finn will be conducting lunchtime webinars on the importance of preparing a legally valid Will and the consequences if you don’t. They are on:

  • Wednesday 19 June – 12:00-1:00pm AEST
  • Thursday 20 June – 12:00-1:00pm AEST

The webinar will include time for Q & A where Kevin will answer your questions. To register for the free webinars click here.

State Trustees also conducts regular regional Will writing appointments. Dates for the upcoming visits are:

  • Warrnambool –15 – 16 July
  • Mildura –1 – 2 August
  • Shepparton – 1 July
  • Wodonga – 2 July
  • Ballarat – 17 July
  • Geelong – 24th June (filling fast) , 8th July and 22nd July

You can find out more information or book an appointment online here or call 03 9667 6466.

Win a State Trustees Will Kit

State Trustees is giving away to readers of Planning With Kids three Will Kits. To enter, simply leave a comment below noting what matters most in life to you and why.  The giveaway is open to Australian residents only and will close on 25th June 2013 at 5pm.  Full terms and conditions can be read here.

Win a $3000 flight voucher

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State Trustees is also running a major competition as part of I Will Week. To have a chance of winning a $3000 flight voucher you need to send them a picture of “What Matters Most” and write in 25 words or less why it means so much to you. Entry is via the I Will Week facebook page and you can read more about it and find the terms and conditions here.