There are so many good reasons to have a current Will.
But it is particularly important if you own real estate.
1. If you own property on your own or as tenants in common
Once you die, it will be necessary to transfer your property to someone else (for tax and other reasons).
If you have left a valid Will, this can be done by getting a grant of probate.
However, if you die without a valid Will, the more complex ‘letters of administration’ process must be followed.
This takes longer and is likely to result in legal fees much more expensive than had you just made a Will in the first place, particularly if State Trustees need to get involved.
2. If you own property as joint tenants
If you own property as joint tenants and you die, your interest in the property will go to the other joint tenant automatically.
But what if the two of you (and any kids you have) die without leaving Wills?
Intestacy law says that your joint equity in the property will go wholly to the youngest joint tenant’s family.
However, if you have a Will, you can state that in this situation, your interest in the house can be split 50/50 between both your families.
Or you can leave it to someone else entirely, if you so choose.
But you get to choose, rather than it being determined according to arbitrary rules.
When the bulk of your and your partner’s wealth is in real estate, it is critical that you have Wills directing these assets in a manner that is fair.