After years of hard work and accumulation of assets, a substantial number of Australians do not have a current Will. Those who do, rarely review them.
This post highlights some important reasons why you should have a Will and, if you do, why it might be a good time to review it.
Why do you need a Will at all?
Everyone over the age of 18 should have a Will. A large proportion of Australians do not have a current Will. The five pointers below highlight why you should have a recent Will.
- Control – a Will ensures your assets pass to the right person/people at the right age.
- Efficiency – Having a Will minimises the legal cost of probate and administering your estate. A Will also minimises delays in passing gifts to your loved ones who may be financially dependent on receiving the gift.
- Your peace of mind – You can choose the person you trust the most to be the executor and trustee responsible for the administration of your estate. Without a Will, your executor and trustee could end up being someone who you would not want in control.
- Peace of mind for your family – In the unfortunate eventuality of death, having a Will avoids the added stress and uncertainty that arises when there isn’t a Will.
- Tomorrow may be too late – Unfortunately, death from old age isn't the only event that is relevant. Loss of mental capacity from an accident, disease or the aging process can prevent you from preparing your Will. Just like premature death from an accident – no one can predict when loss of capacity may occur.
Review an existing Will
If you already have a Will, you should review it regularly to ensure it reflects your current situation and wishes. A review does not necessarily mean that a change is required, but does ensure that changes in circumstances are not overlooked.
It is our recommendation that Wills be reviewed:
- At least every three years
- If you separate, divorce or re-marry/re-partner
- If you have more children or grandchildren
- If you establish or dispose of a trust, company or business
- Whenever you dispose of, or acquire significant assets, such as property
- If you acquire significant debts or there is a likelihood you may become insolvent
- If a beneficiary dies or has a significant change in circumstances, including a family law dispute
- An executor passes away or becomes ill