A Guide to Selecting Beneficiaries for Your Will

Table of elderly people

It is possible to not write a Will and not nominate anyone to inherit your assets when you pass away. This is called ‘dying intestate’. When this happens, the laws of your state or territory will decide how your estate is administered. However, this means you don’t have the opportunity to decide how your assets are distributed after your death.

Choosing beneficiaries means you can deliberately select people and organisations to receive a portion of an inheritance. It allows you to gift special items and assets to different people in your life. This means that you can give a significant piece of art to your niece who always admired it, or your car to your grandson so he can have his first car when he turned 18.

It also allows you to distribute assets evenly between multiple your extended family, rather than your assets being distributed to your next to kin based on local law.

Potential options for beneficiaries


If you have any people who are financially dependent on you, it is important to name them as beneficiaries in your Will. As a matter of priority, you should ensure that your dependants will be taken care of after your passing. This can include any children you have who are under 18 or who are still financially dependent on you. It can also include your spouse or partner if they don’t work or would not be able to maintain your lifestyle without you.

If you do not name your dependent children as beneficiaries, they can make a claim to your estate regardless. This can cause tension and arguments in the period after your passing and is best avoided.


Most people will have many family members who are not dependants but who you still want to leave something in your Will. This can include your cousins, aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces, and other extended family members.


For some people, their friends are like their family, or even closer! Leaving special friends something in your Will is a lovely way of saying goodbye and giving them a way to always remember you and the friendship you shared. It could be a financial amount, or a meaningful belonging that has special significance to both of you.


Some people feel a particular affinity to a company or organisation and would like to include them in their Will. This could include a company that you have worked with or been involved with in some other capacity who you can see doing good work for your community. Many people like to gift a sum of money to their old school or university, and sometimes will also donate personal belongings that have some special value to those institutions.


Finally, many people will choose to name a charity or not-for-profit organisation in their Will. In some cases, people will leave their entire estate to charity (where there are no dependants to consider). This can be a fantastic way to support a good cause that you care about and leave a lasting legacy after your death.

Need help?

Do you have an up-to-date Will that reflects your wishes for when you pass away? No? You need a wills and estate lawyer. You need RV Legal. For a confidential discussion, contact us today:

By phone (03) 8340 0436 (24 hour message service)
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