Why should you make a Will?
It seems like a very morbid task and many shy away from doing it, however, just like Life Insurance making a Will is an essential part of providing for your family.
In fact both Partners should have a Will as this is a protection if anything should happen to either of you.
The process of making a Will is very simple.
You can ask your Solicitor, you can even get a Will kit and make it out yourself but for families it is more advisable to have your Solicitor handle it as they will know everything that is required under law.
1. Deciding who inherits
Making a Will allows you to decide who inherits and what they inherit.
You may not realise it but if you die without leaving a legal Will then the intestacy rules apply and your affairs will be handed over to the law (i.e. Trustee & Guardian Dept) who will decide who should inherit, this is a slow process and your family can be left without clear direction and finances for some time while the Dept administer your affairs.
In addition when there is no Will this can leave room for someone to contest and slow down the process for administration.
By having a legal Will in place you are ensured that your wishes will be carried out expediently and with minimum of stress.
2. Nominating your own Executor
When you make a Will you can decide who administers your estate i.e. the Executor of your estate.
You are able to nominate a relative or trusted family friend – someone you know you can rely on to handle matters properly in a sensitive manner and according to your wishes.
3. Saving trouble, expense and delay
When there is a legal Will in place it saves a lot of trouble, expense and delay for your loved ones; without a Will (as noted above) the intestacy rules apply and this often means a delay in paying your creditors as well as a delay to your family in receiving their inheritance.
4. Avoid disputes and later stress
Leaving a legal Will avoids disputes between your loved ones during what is an already very stressful, sad and uncertain time.
Intestacy rules often mean relatives and friends feel left out and can lead to unnecessary strain and pressure on your loved ones.
5. Benefiting your children
A legal Will ensures that if anything happens to both you and your spouse at the same time your Children will be properly cared for with regard to who will be their Guardian/s, their maintenance and inheritance.
If you do not leave a legal Will with an appointed Guardian/s then Social Services may be called in to make the decision for you.
Garth Brown’s Comment
From our professional experience in dealing with property conveyancing we always recommend to our Clients to have a current, legal Will in place prepared by a specialist Solicitor, there can be pitfalls in preparing a Will from a Kit especially in regard to inheritance tax and other responsibilities under the law.
It is important to keep in mind that if you have a Will but have considerably changed circumstances (i.e. death of spouse, divorce, second marriage) then any existing Will may not reflect your current situation and you will need to consult your Solicitor to make a new legal Will.
Sorting through your financial affairs (known as probate) can be a long and frustrating process for your loved ones.
Having all your financial documents, such as tax returns, Centrelink information, insurance, details of assets, title deeds, and any other important documentation in one place will help immeasurably – just remember to tell someone where that place is.