25 Mar Will you protect what is important to you?
The importance of having an up to date will
As everyone’s lives get busier and busier (not to mention facing major events), one thing people often put off is making a will.
A will is an important legal document that allows you to plan for your family’s future if something were to happen to you.
What happens if I die without a will?
If you die without leaving a valid will your estate will be distributed according to the law of intestacy.
Wills are especially important in today’s society with a large number of mixed and split families. New changes to the Administration and Probate Act now mean that if you do not have a valid will, a much larger portion of your assets goes to your spouse or domestic partner, to the exclusion of any children from a previous relationship.
Prior to 2018 your spouse or domestic partner would get $100,000 from your estate with the remainder shared between them and your children in the event you had no will.
Now where there is no will, a spouse or domestic partner receives approximately $451,909 (to be adjusted according to CPI), with the remainder of funds in your estate (if any) to be shared between them and your children.
This could potentially leave any children from a previous relationship with no inheritance as it all goes to the partner.
What an up to date will covers
A lot of people look at a will as only a way to distribute your financial assets and don’t see the additional options a will provides.
With a correctly drafted will, you can appoint financial guardians for any infant or disabled children, advise your family of your preferred funeral or burial arrangements, plan for the succession of a family business, and give money to charity among many other options.
Making a valid Will also provides you with an opportunity to distribute your assets as you see fit. This allows you to consider the specific needs of your family and friends and distribute your assets accordingly. It also ensures that family heirlooms can stay in the family and are not sold by relatives that do not know the sentimental value.
If there are valid reasons for excluding family members in your will, you can state the reasons why you have excluded them. This can help prevent family members -who you have not spoken with in years- from trying to claim a share of your estate. If a family member were to contest your estate it could cost your estate tens of thousands of dollars to well over a hundred thousand dollars and a number of years disputing the claim. This means your intended beneficiaries will miss out on the full amount due to legal fees.
Reduce stress and fights for your family members
By making an up to date will you also reduce the amount of stress that your loved ones need to go through after you pass on. Losing a loved one is hard, but not knowing what they want to happen with their assets makes it a lot more difficult for them to cope.
When there is no will a lot of loved ones get very concerned about who is going to get the assets and are full of anxiety. There can be fights over who is planning the funeral or who decides if you are buried or cremated and it can get really ugly and nasty.
To avoid these issues for your loved ones it is important to have a valid will.
If you would like to know more about getting your will sorted take advantage of our free half hour legal consults. They can be done in person or via Skype or telephone conference.