With the holidays fast approaching, it’s a good time to either re-assess your will, or create one if you haven’t yet!
Now, you might be thinking “Hold up a sec Sasha, that’s a bit morbid isn’t it?” While this isn’t exactly a topic that’s fun to talk about, it is one that’s super duper important, and also one that not enough Australians pay attention to!
Hands up if you, like many others, think that after your death your assets will automatically be passed to your partner and children?
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. If a person dies without a valid will, they’re considered to have died ‘intestate’, which means that all their assets will be distributed based on a set legal formula.
No matter how straightforward you think your circumstances may be, having a will is essential. Your will is a legally binding document that sets out exactly what happens to your assets after you pass away.
Having a will in place is especially important if you have a large investment portfolio. Your portfolio is a culmination of your life’s work, and I’m sure we would all like to choose who gets to inherit the benefits of that!
If your will is non-existent or outdated, it means your property could be passed on to someone who might not be who you would otherwise have chosen. Keeping your will current is the easiest way to ensure your wishes are met after you pass!
Creating a will is even more vital if you have young children, as it will allow you to nominate a specific guardian to oversee them in the case of your death. Picking a guardian for your children is incredibly important, and as sad as it may be, it’s a discussion you need to have soon rather than later. You should also be clear with how you want them to be raised, so you can ensure the person you’re trusting them to knows what your wishes are.
Now, many Australian’s put off creating a will as they think it’s a long, drawn-out process. On the contrary, creating a will is not as complicated as some might think, and you actually have a few options on how to go about it, including using a pre-made Will Kit or having the detailed documents drafted by a qualified will writer or lawyer.
It’s important to note that most will kits are generally designed for people with straightforward circumstances. If you take this route, I would personally recommend getting it checked over by a lawyer as well, just to make sure you have covered all your bases. If your asset distribution is complex, I would always consult a lawyer first and foremost, to get specialist advice.
It’s a good idea to talk to your family about your will as well, as knowing how you wish for the assets to be distributed will prevent any problems or disputes from occurring later down the track.
Your will is also not just a set and jet type of situation. You should try and update it regularly – particularly if your circumstances change. Things such as getting married, buying property or having a child are all things that may impact upon how your will is set up and what you’d like to happen should something go wrong.
Now, with all the serious stuff out of the way, I’d like to take this chance to thank you all for a wonderful year, wish you a very Merry Christmas and of course, a safe and happy new year!
Until next time,