As you get older you might find yourself wondering whether or not you should have a Will, is it really that important? Well, the short answer is YES! It is very important and I’m about to tell you why.
So, what exactly is a Will? A Will is a legal document stating your wishes to be carried out when you pass away, it ensures that your hard-earned assets are distributed and managed according to those wishes outlined in the document. Surprisingly almost half of all Australian’s do not have a Will, so if they were to pass away unexpectedly there is no guarantee that their assets would be distributed in accordance with their intentions, instead an executor would distribute the Estate according to relevant legislation.
If you don’t have a Will, hopefully by the time you finish reading the Top 3 Reasons to have a Will you will change your mind.
- You get to decide how your estate is Distributed
As a Will is legally binding, you will get to set out exactly how you want your estate to be handled. This will ensure that no one can inherit a portion of the estate unless you have specified them in the document. If you do not have a Will there are laws stating who gets what and how much they receive.
For example: Let’s say you were to pass away without a valid Will, under Western Australian Law the estate will be inherited by your spouse if worth less than $50K. If it’s worth more, and you have children your spouse will receive a portion and then the rest will be split evenly amongst your children. If you don’t have children it then goes down the line looking at your parents, siblings, nieces/nephews and whether they are entitled to a portion of your estate. This may potentially result in someone you did not intend on, inheriting some of your estate.
- Minimise legal challenges & avoid a lengthy probate process.
All Estate’s go through the probate process, having a Will ensures this process can be sped up by informing the Court exactly how you want your assets divided. A probate court’s purpose is to administer your estate, and if you die as an intestate i.e. without a will, the court will then take a long time to decide how to divide the estate, possibly leaving your family in a bad financial situation.
Legal challenges may arise if you pass away without a Will, seeing people you did not intend inheriting some of your estate, or others fighting over how much they deserve to inherit. Unless there is a clear discrepancy in a Will, such as one child receiving 25% of the estate whilst the other receives 50%, it will not be successfully contested, and your Estate will be divided exactly how you wanted.
- To make a difficult time less difficult
Losing a family member is a difficult time already without the added stress of consulting lawyers or arguing with family members. As tomorrow is never promised, having a valid Will can ensure that the process of distributing your Estate is not any more complicated than it needs to be with your intentions laid out to be followed just as you wanted.
If you don’t have a valid Will you should make it your New Year’s resolution to get it sorted!