Wills and the Family Portrait….
The motivation behind updating a family portrait can be similar to the reasons why it’s important to consider updating your wills. Lighthouse ask Wills expert Sharon and Colin from Willcraft for an insight in what wills means to a family.
“But I Don’t Want To Make A Will!”
This is a dangerous attitude to have!!
Of course, no one wants to talk about death.
The old superstitions still abound, that talking about death and making a will actually tempts death. The truth is that every person is going to die at some point—which is why you need to make a will now.
Making a will gives you peace of mind. You know that your assets, both personal and business, will be distributed to the right person after you pass on.
If you have a will, you need to keep it updated as your life changes. If someone close to you, someone who was included in your will in the past, dies, their name should be removed from your will. Also, any new births or additions to your family should be accounted for, for instance, a marriage, birth of a child, or adoption. As a note, sometimes, when a couple gets married, their old wills are automatically made void, so this especially is a good time to change your will.
Without a will, you will not have control over who takes guardianship of your children, which assets are allocated to whom. People can make claims about you and your assets and take them away from those who they were intended to support.
What happens if I die without a will?
Dying without a will is called dying “intestate.” Essentially, this means that the distribution of your estate falls back to the government. If there are many people who can stake a claim to your estate—and most people do have many relatives that could make claims—it could leave your estate in court for months or years after your death.
In Australia, most states revert the estate back to the closest family members, but this is not always the case and may not be how you want your assets allocated.
What happens if I get divorced after writing a will?
In most of Australia, if you have written a will that includes your spouse, and then that marriage is dissolved, either through divorce or through an annulment, the will is void. However, there are two instances in which this might not be the case.
First, if the will specifically says that a divorce or annulment will not affect the will, or if it appears that the divorce or annulment was initiated just to void the will. If you want the will to stand, as is, even if you get divorced, the solution is to make sure the will says that it is still valid, even if the marriage dissolves.
It should be noted that this rule did not come into effect until the 9th of February, 2008. Any divorces before this time does not affect wills. If you were divorced before this date, you should review your will and make a new one to accommodate the new situation.
Why not wait to make a will?
Life is unpredictable. At least ten percent of individuals over the ages of 65 experience some form of dementia that makes them medically unfit to write a will. Other age-related diseases become more and more common, the longer you live. A will does not only say what should happen to your financials after you die, but what you want to have happen to you while you are still living but no longer mentally able to make rational, informed decisions.
I’m too busy to make a will.
Being busy and wanting to enjoy life are two of the main reasons that individuals put off making a will. The facts are, however, that many people die long before they have the chance to make a will. Those who need wills the most are usually those who put it off. Young, married individuals with young children are the demographic most in need of a will, but few have one, even though it would ensure the safety of their children, after an unexpected death.
Planning for the distant future and for the unexpected right now alleviates stress.
Our recommendation is that anyone over the age of eighteen, who has an income and assets, should have a functional will.
Don’t wait until it is too late.
Take CONTROL of your assets, PROTECT your family and assets and provide PEACE OF MIND for you and your loved ones.
If making a Will is something you have been ‘meaning to get round to’ take ACTION today!
Written for Willcraft by
Sharon Hunt (0447 188 805) & Colin Chapman (0429 926 964)