“I’ll do it next year!”, “I have no money anyway, so it doesn’t matter!”, or “I’m too young to think about those types of things!”
These are some of the classic catchphrases for many people who continue pushing a Will down the to-do list.
In fact, if you’ve haven’t got a Will or at least one that’s up to date, you aren’t alone. The NSW Government estimates that about only 55% of Australians have a current will.
That means, just under one in two people either haven’t set up one of the most important legal documents of their life, or their Will hasn’t been changed for the past 20 years (which, is evidently problematic).
The importance of having a Will.
It may seem fairly obvious the virtues of having a Will; you want to ensure your loved ones, and their future are in safe hands, and your exit strategies are in place.
However, we all know life isn’t always as simple as we wish it were.
Certain events make life a little bit more complicated, whether it’s a separation or divorce, young children or children from various relationships, or purchasing major assets – such as a home.
The challenge is that many people don’t even think about a Will until an older age, or they’re triggered by major life events.
So, what happens if you pass away before you set up plans for the people close to you? What if you’re a single parent and haven’t formally identified a guardian for your young children, or haven’t updated your Will since you were married?
Is it a big deal if I don’t have a Will?
In cases where people die without a Will, they pass in a state of intestacy. What is that, you ask?
Well, if there is no legal document outlining how you want your property distributed, then the law is forced to step in.
Every state has different and complicated intestacy laws, but what remains the same is often how your possessions could be legally divided – not necessarily reflecting what you had wanted.
During the time where the state figures out what should be done with your possessions, it can be a very long and frustrating process. Family members or friends, who are already grieving, are often put through even more stress just to work out who gets what. Not only that, many wills are forced to be contested in court whether it’s by children, partners and ex-partners, or siblings.
The question is, why put your loved ones through that additional pain when you could easily sort it out before your passing?
Do I need a Will if I don’t have much money?
We know you may be thinking: I don’t have a mass of savings or any major assets so what’s the point in getting a Will? Can’t I just tell someone what I want?
Even if you don’t think you’re asset-rich, the benefits of having a Will still outweigh the cons. A Will isn’t just about your money (or lack thereof), it’s also about how you want to distribute possessions that are meaningful to you, or for someone else.
For instance, if you own a pet, a Will is still valid to determine who you want your beloved animal to go to. Or, as an example, the families of young people are often left unsure how to deal with social media accounts after their death. Wills can manage even those types of things that may have never crossed your mind before but will have to work out after your life ends.
As Peter Bielagus, a former financial advisor, told the Wall Street Journal, “If you draft a Will when you’re young, it puts you in the mindset of having a successful financial life.”
Is having a Will enough or do I need more?
In truth, having a current Will is just the beginning of the story. There are a number of other aspects that are fundamental to having your life sorted our following your death.
At Bow Tie Financial Services we can help you set up a testamentary trust and an enduring power of attorney. A testamentary trust is there to give you greater control of your assets and who you want to benefit from it, and provide you with further tax advantages.
On the other hand, your enduring power of attorney will be your advocate after your death – or in the event that you just don’t have the capacity to make decisions for yourself. They should be the person all over what you want and how you want it, and they’re role is critical.
We completely understand that thinking about the end of your life isn’t the greatest way to spend your time. However, the lives of your friends and family members do continue after your passing.
At Bow Tie Financial Services, Adrian will guide you through the simple and trickier parts to life.
You can talk to us to discuss the best options for you and the people around you. Whether it’s making your first Will or updating an older one that needs some changes.
One of the greatest gifts you can leave them is the assurance their futures are safe, protected and certain.