What is a Will? – Do You Have One?

Most young people probably don’t have a Will, I know I only have one because I was told to get one (and an Enduring Power of Attorney) for my travels overseas. But in reality every person should have a Will.

A Will is one of the most important documents you need in your life. It is a written document in which you state how you want your property/assets distributed after you die. Making a Will allows you to choose what happens to your assets after you pass. It also allows you to nominate an Executor, who is the person responsible for making sure your wishes are met.

Without a Will, a person’s estate may be administered by someone the deceased didn’t want to handle their affairs and the assets may be distributed to persons not intended. In simple terms, a Will lets the Courts know what your intentions are when you die. A Will can also be designed to encompass a range of requests including:

  • Providing for children from a previous relationship
  • Providing for children with special needs
  • Guardianship of your children
  • Excluding immediate family/ex partners
  • Assets that do not form part of your estate (such as a family trust)
  • How to best meet your charitable objectives.

 

What happens if you don’t have a Will?

If you die without a legal Will, State/Territory law determines how your estate is distributed. In most situations your closest relatives will share in the estate you leave behind, however this is not always the case. Some people will/can put a claim in on your estate (parents, de facto partners, ex partners, relative, and friends), remember you won’t be around to be heard so your wishes aren’t carried out the way you want. Without a Will the court has the right to determine who will be granted administration of your estate, they may choose a person or organisation you wouldn’t want to manage your affairs. If there is no Will you have no say as to who will benefit from your estate, your estate may take a long time to settle and the cost could be significantly higher than if you had prepared a Will.

Anyone who is 18 years of age and have legal capacity can make a Will. Maybe you think you’re not very old/or don’t have any assets so you don’t need a Will…?

Having a Will isn’t a matter of your age or how many assets you have and should be considered by everyone. What you want to happen after you pass is not necessarily what the court of law will decide should happen. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have/have you had a full time job?
  • It’s compulsory for your employer to pay superannuation which may have a life insurance attached.
  • Do you have assets? (car, motorbike, jet ski, jewellery, tools, house etc)
  • Do you have parents, siblings, grandparents, kids?
  • Do you have an on/off relationship? Is he/she a friend in YOUR eyes?
  • Do you care for your family/loved ones?

The adverse effects of dying without a Will (interstate) apply whatever your age is at death and is not dependent on your asset position. It is a sad fact of life that none of us know what the future holds and accidental or early death can occur. If someone has died without a Will, laws will dictate how the estate will be distributed. Would you want to have a voice if you’re not around?

Here is a very sad story about a young man who passed away without a Will, his workers compensation was claimed by a ‘girlfriend’ and the effects it had on his family:

http://www.news.com.au/finance/money/kay-catanzariti-was-left-heartbroken-after-her-dead-sons-girlfriend-won-his-workers-compensation/news-story/4b74a63ba4cef2e053bd9bdbc502d1bb

 

If you would like to know more about making a Will or would like to get a recommendation from the Fortress Extended Family, please call our office on 07 4646 4970 or contact us on info@fortressfs.com.au

Written by Brooke Taylor, Practice Officer of Fortress Financial Solutions

Information referenced from http://www.willityourway.com/

Corporate Authorised Representative of Magnitude Group Pty Ltd ABN 54 086 266 202, AFSL 221557.

Information on this site may be regarded as general advice. That is, your personal objectives, needs or financial situations were not taken into account when preparing this information. Accordingly, you should consider the appropriateness of any general advice we have given you, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs before acting on it. Where the information relates to a particular financial product, you should obtain and consider the relevant product disclosure statement before making any decision to purchase that financial product.

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