More Australians are now protected by a legal will after thousands of people took up Slater and Gordon’s free online will offer during National Law Week 2012 (14-20 May).
For the second year in a row, Slater and Gordon’s online wills service was made free for the duration of National Law Week, representing a saving of $150 per user. More than double the number of Australians took up the offer this year, with more than 7600 people from across the country getting online to start a will or an estate planning self assessment.
Rod Cunich, a family and succession planning lawyer, said the take up of this years offer proved that more Australians understood the importance of a will.
“We know from research that while many people know they should have a will, finding the time to get it done is something that stops them. We’re pleased that so many people found the time during Law Week to start making a will because it’s a very important document,” Mr Cunich said.
“During the week, people aged between 18 and 90 got online, in the comfort of their home or office, and started their will.
“It was also great to see that about a quarter of respondents were under the age of 30, which means people are starting to think about wills early; preparing them for any unsuspecting challenges life may through at them.
“Our campaign has also highlighted that people with children also recognise the importance of a will and what it means for the financial security of their family, no matter how old the children are. About two thirds of respondents had children.
“Interestingly, there was an increase in the number of males who took up the offer than last year, with 60 per cent of males and 40 per cent of females starting the online process.
The most number of people to get online and start their will were from Victoria (1570), followed closely by New South Wales (930) and Queensland (890).
Mr Cunich said a rapidly increasing aging population meant that in the next decade, trillions of dollars worth of personal wealth will be exposed to uncertainty and risk if people don’t have a will.
Mr Cunich said that while laws exists to help set out who is entitled to what in the absence of a will, the formula for distributing assets may not be how the deceased intended.
“The failure to prepare for one of the biggest transfers of wealth in our history could have devastating results for families who may be left with the financial burden of having to process estates and pay for costly legal expenses,” he said.
Research released by Slater and Gordon in 2010 found that almost half (47 per cent) of Australians did not have a valid will. This left an estimated $2.5 trillion worth of property, homes, shares, superannuation and other assets not protected by a will in Australia.
Australians can still register to complete a will by visiting online.slatergordon.com.au.