“Why do I need a will?” “Doesn’t my partner get everything anyway?” “My family can sort it out once I die”.
These are the sorts of responses we get when we ask people if they have a will.
Below is a short, sharp list of reasons you should have a will.
- Your children. Who will look after your children if something happens to both their parents? Putting your wishes in a will makes it obvious. If circumstances change, the person you appoint can decide they don’t want to do it, but you can always nominate a back-up.
- You get to decide who gets what. Without a will, the choice is taken out of your hands and is dictated by legislation. Did you want to leave your jewellery to someone who will appreciate it? Is there a family heirloom that you want to keep on your side of the family? Sure, there is a possibility the will can be contested, but if you don’t have a will at all, how will the Court know what you wanted?
- Taxes. Those two certainties in life, death and taxes. With some good estate planning, you can minimise the tax liability for your family if something happens to you. For example, if you set up a testamentary trust in your, minors can apply for tax concessions from income received from your will.
- Ease the burden on your family. Should you die, your family will be in mourning for some time. The last thing they want to do is to go through all your belongings in search of a will to find out what needs to happen to your estate. They also don’t want the added burden of applying for letters of administration when they otherwise may not need to go to Court at all to finalise your estate.
- You appoint the right people to manage your estate. This might seem strange, but appointing the right executor(s) for your estate is one of the most sensible decisions you can make. If you don’t want that crazy looking after your finances when you die, then you can appoint someone else in your will.
- It’s not as hard as you think. People are often surprised when we tell them we don’t need all their banking records and household inventory to draft the will. All you need is half an hour and a telephone, and we can guide you through the rest.
This article was written by Kristina Fraser, a solicitor at Eleven Legal Pty Ltd. If you have any queries regarding wills and estates, please contact Kristina by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on (02) 9539-8849.