Far too many people die without a valid Will.
Studies suggest that at least 45% of people in Australia die without a valid Will. On top of that number there are many people who have a valid Will when they die but it is not up to date and it does not reflect their current wishes or circumstances.
In the event that you die without a valid Will, your assets will be distributed under the laws of intestacy according to a formula that cannot be changed. That may well mean that your assets do not go to the people who you would wish them to go to.
Firstly, it is important that everyone over the age of 18, irrespective of your personal circumstances or your assets, has a valid Will.
Secondly, and just as important, is that once you have made a Will you do not put it in the filing cabinet and forget about it for evermore.
There are many life events that should trigger a review of your Will and the following are some examples:
- Have you married or entered into a de facto relationship?
- Have you separated from or divorced your partner?
- Are you or your spouse in a high risk profession?
- Have you sold or purchased property?
- Have your assets significantly increased or decreased?
- Have any of your Executors, Trustees or beneficiaries died or lost mental capacity?
- Have you set up a Family Trust, Self-Managed Super Fund or business?
- Have you done a Binding Death Benefit Nomination?
- Have you had a child or grandchild?
- Do you have a child who has turned 18? Or 21?
- Do you have a child who has married or entered into a de facto relationship?
- Do you have a child who has separated from or divorced their partner or is in an unstable relationship?
- Do you have a child who is in a high risk profession?
- Do you have a child who is disabled or has a mental illness?
- Do you have a child who has an addiction or is a spendthrift?
- Is it 5 years since you have made or reviewed your Will?
Your Will is just one of your important estate planning documents that you should have in place. As well as reviewing your Will, you should also regularly review your Power of Attorney, Enduring Guardian and Binding Death Benefit Nomination documents to ensure that they are all up to date and reflect your current wishes and circumstances.
How we can help
Peter McLachlan, Partner, and Suzanne Young, Special Counsel, are experienced in specialised work on Wills, trusts, transfer of assets and succession planning.
We offer fixed fees for simple Wills, Enduring Powers of Attorney and Enduring Power of Guardianship.
If you would like more information about estate planning or have any questions, please contact us on (02) 9229 2222 or the email addresses below.
Suzanne Young. Special Counsel
Peter McLachlan. Partner