Top reasons to have a will

People often put off making a will. For many people, it’s at the bottom of a long “to do” list.

No one wants to think about dying, but getting your affairs in order is extremely important, especially if you have a family, property assets or superannuation.

Making a will helps those you love and care about. Many people say that once they have a will in place, they feel real peace of mind knowing they have protected the future of their family, especially their young children.

  • A will is about making sure that the guardians of your young children are people you and your spouse have chosen, not someone else. Although you may have agreed with someone about guardianship, if you and your spouse do not have wills, a Court will decide who your children’s guardians are to be.
  • A will is about you deciding how your estate is distributed and who will wind up your affairs – your own trusted executors, not the Court. If you die without a will, a Court divides up your estate under the intestacy rules – a “one size fits all” formula that applies where there is no will. Without a will, you do not get to choose where your estate goes.
  • A well-drawn will can provide ongoing tax benefits for your family and grandchildren they could never get otherwise.
  • If you have superannuation or life insurance they may be paid to your estate and you need a will to make sure the benefits go to the persons you intend.
  • A will is about giving special, sentimental items such as jewellery, antiques and family heirlooms to the people you want to give them to.
  • A will is about making the particular funeral arrangements that you want.
  • A will is about making gifts and donations to help the charities and causes that reflect your personal values and beliefs.
  • A will is about looking to the future and not waiting until it is too late – such as sudden, unexpected or accidental death.
  • A will is about saving your loved ones from additional stress and difficulty when they are coping with loss and bereavement.
  • A well-drawn will and estate plan can avoid the risk of family disputes over inheritance.

Whey you may need a new will

Your life circumstances can change. Even if you already have a will, you may need to revise it or make a new will, especially if you get married or if you get divorced.

Marriage revokes a will

If you get married, any existing will is invalid. Marriage means a new will is necessary.

Divorce may revoke a will.

If you get divorced, your spouse is no longer your spouse and gifts to your divorced spouse in your existing will are not valid.

Avoid DIY will kits and online will templates

Cheap will kits and DIY online wills are dangerous. Some people may think this is an easy and inexpensive option, but such wills are often incorrectly made and can easily fail. Understanding the words in an online template may seem simple and easy, but those words have serious legal impact. If you misunderstand their meaning or if you get them wrong, or do not follow the correct legal rules for will-making, the DIY will be inoperative or work in ways you never intended. Cheap DIY wills are not cheap – they can result in expensive legal disputes.