Selecting who benefits from your estate when you pass away is one of the main functions of your Will, and typically what people think of when they hear about Wills. There are a few things our legal advisers suggest you should keep in mind when nominating beneficiaries:
Minimising estate disputes
Generally speaking, you are free to leave your property to any person or charitable organisation that you wish. When choosing beneficiaries, however, it is important to consider the risk of claims being made against the estate by people who you may have a responsibility to provide for, and you have chosen to exclude from benefiting under your Will. This may include a partner or children depending on your circumstances.
In order to minimise this risk, you may want to consider making adequate provision for those people to whom you may have a responsibility to provide for their support and welfare.
You are free to nominate beneficiaries under your Will that are not yet 18 years of age at the time of your death. Generally underage beneficiaries will not be able to accept possession of their gift until they reach 18 years of age, however in each state and territory there are different laws for payments that may be allowed to be made to underage beneficiaries prior to reaching the age of majority.
Beneficiaries with special needs
Beneficiaries with special needs often require a nuanced legal structure (such as a testamentary trust) to ensure that they are provided for. Safewill does not currently accommodate for these complex legal structures. If you have a beneficiary with special needs, we recommend seeking help from a qualified legal professional.