19 Dec DO I REALLY NEED A WILL?
With over 52% of the Australian adult population not having a will according to comparison site, finder.com.au, as of late 2018, what is the incentive to have a will? First and foremost, because nothing is certain in life.
We all want what is best for our families and we intrinsically understand that having something in place in terms of succession planning is the right thing. However, the statistics show that most of us will never get around to making our Will, which means that our wishes may not be carried out at the administration of our estate.
So, what is the big deal? In this blog, we go through the main reasons as to why you should have a will.
- A will is a legally binding instrument that allows you to determine how your estate will be distributed upon your death. If you die without a will, you cannot guarantee that your wishes will be carried out. Having a valid will also minimises any family arguments about your estate that may arise, and also provides much needed certainty at the time of your death.
- A valid will allows you to make informed decisions about who will look after your children in the event that both you and the other parent predecease them. Having a will allows you to appoint the person you want to raise your children and even better, ensures that it is not someone you do not want to raise your children.
- In South Australia, the Supreme Court is vested with the responsibility of ensuring that everything is in order before granting what is known as a Grant of Probate. If you have created a valid will that complies with the requirements of the Wills Act 1936, then the process of securing a Grant of Probate will be much faster.
- A further reason to have a will is because it allows you to minimise your estate taxes. The value of what you give away to family, friends or charity will reduce the overall value of your estate when it’s time to pay estate taxes.
- Your executor or executors will ensure that all your affairs are in order, including paying off bills, cancelling your credit cards, and notifying the bank and other business establishments of your passing. As executors will play a significant role in the administration of your estate, you will need to appoint someone who is honest, trustworthy, and organised (which may or may not always be a family member).
- Most of us do not realise that we can disinherit individuals out of our will. In other words, family members that would normally stand to benefit if you die without a valid will can be struck out of the will in accordance with your wishes.
As wills specify how you would like your estate distributed, absent a will, your estate may end up in the wrong hands or in the hands of someone you did not intend (such as an ex-spouse or a child that no longer speaks to you).
- An important reason to have a will is so that you can change it at any time while you are still alive. Things in life change. There will be births, deaths, and divorce or other similar significant events. Having an up to date valid will is necessary as a result of these life events.
- The main reasons many of us do not have wills is because we do not turn our minds to death, or we just procrastinate. Sometimes the realisation that a valid will is necessary comes too late – such as when an unexpected death or disability occurs.
To avoid the added stress during an already emotional time, it is wise to contact an experienced estate planning lawyer to help you draw up your estate plan, which should include a will at a minimum, before it’s too late.
Get in contact one of our experienced estate lawyers today at Distinction Legal on 7221 19 59. We are here to help!