Are companies excluded from being the beneficiaries of Wills?
Table of Content
What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document that works as basic instructions regarding how your estate is to be divided up, and who will inherit your estate when you pass away.
Your estate is basically your assets. These assets are things that you own, either solely or jointly. Now, your assets can include both physical assets and non-physical assets.
Accordingly so, these assets may include things such as:
- Bank accounts,
- All types of investments,
- Business assets, such as patents and royalties,
- Even smaller personal items such as jewellery and clothes.
This means that almost anything that you own can be passed on through your Will.
So, when a Will refers to your estate or the division of your estate, it is referring to how your assets will be passed on to others. If you’d like to draw up your Will or have any questions concerning your estate, it’s best to speak to an estate planning lawyer.
What is a Beneficiary Of a Will?
Now, your Will is much more than just a document outlining how your estate is to divide up. The purpose of a Will is to protect and care for your loved ones. It is common for Wills to be made out to family members, children and even close friends. The people your Will is made out to are called the beneficiaries of your Will.
In legal terms, a beneficiary of a will is a person named in your Will who will receive some benefit from your estate.
In other words, the beneficiaries are the ones who receive or inherit your assets once you pass away.
What Rights does the Beneficiary Of a Will have?
Beneficiaries of a Will are entitled to receive whatever portion of the deceased’s estate that is stipulated for in that Will. This is their major right.
However, your beneficiaries also have a few other rights when it comes to your Will. This includes the right to:
- Be notified of their inclusion in a validly created Will,
- Receive a full copy of the Will,
- Be notified and have knowledge of any legal proceedings that arise in relation to claims or contests of the Will,
- Recieve their distrubution of the Will within 12 months of the deceased’s death.
Who can be a Beneficiary Of a Will?
As stated above, it is common for your loved ones to be your Will’s beneficiaries. But, they are not the only persons you can name as your beneficiaries.
The most common forms of beneficiaries for Wills are:
- Individuals, such as your loved ones,
- Organisations and entities, such as charities.
So, organisations and entities can be beneficiaries. Does a company fall within one of these categories? Find out below.
Can a Company Be a Beneficiary Of a Will?
Now, it is not extremely common for individuals to want to give their assets to a company, but it is possible. For instance, you may have a family business you wish to continue to support and help. In these circumstances, it’s sometimes wise to contribute directly to the business, rather than to someone else.
As a company is a separate legal entity, it can be a beneficiary of a Will — much like an individual can. You see, any separate legal entity, such as a company, can be a beneficiary of your Will. Therefore, companies fall within the ‘entity’ category of beneficiaries.
A Charity can be a Beneificary Of a Will
It is quite common for people to choose a charitable organisation as a beneficiary of their Will. This is especially true if you are a dedicated member or donator of a charity or society that is close to your heart. A contribution to a charity of your choice is the perfect way to help and benefit your community.
Some notable charitable organisations include the Australian Red Cross, NSW Rural Fire Service, WIRES wildlife rescue, National Breast Cancer Foundation and many more. All in all, many charities can be beneficiaries of Wills as charities fall within the ‘organisations’ category of beneficiaries.
Your Will is an important legal document that sets out who your assets or your estate is to be divided up. Commonly, individuals will leave their estate to their family and friends. Furthermore, individuals are able to leave their estate to a charity or company of their choice. So yes, a company can be a beneficiary of a Will. Remember, if you are planning to write your Will yourself, take great care in your drafting. Plus, it’s always best to get a lawyer to look over it.