When should you start a will and seven reasons why it’s important
I’m sure you or someone you know has continually put off writing a will. It’s not something we want to think about, and it can be an emotional experience. At the same time, once a will is written it can provide you comfort about your estate planning and having your affairs in order.
A Will is a legal document that outlines who receives your estate after passing away and it is recommended to have a Will in place once you turn 18. We understand for many of this age, a Will is not generally something that is thought about. However, if you have children, you’re a blended family, you’re working, received inheritance and have assets here and/or overseas then a Will is essential for protecting your assets and for those that might be financially dependent on you.
Here are seven reasons to have a will in place:
- Without a Will the law and court will decide how your estate will be distributed according to the ‘Intestacy Laws’ of your State or Territory. This means your estate may not be distributed the way you wished and the important people in your life may miss out on benefitting from your estate.
- You make that informed decision on who will have the power to administer your estate (executor) according to what is in the Will. They will not be able to make any changes to the Will and needs to be a person who has the time, skills and is someone you trust. The executor can be more than one person and someone from your family, a friend or a professional such as a lawyer or an accountant.
- If you have young children, you can nominate who you want to be their legal guardian, to raise them, if you pass away. This is so important as you want it to be someone you can trust and who will be there for them through their life’s journey.
- Compared to married couples, de-facto relationships are not always treated the same way if there is no Will.
- A Will can include anyone who shouldn’t receive any part of your estate. It also can prevent family feuds and disagreements over your estate.
- You can include your wishes for your funeral and burial/cremation. People often forget to tell their family their wishes until its too late. Having it in your Will gives the executor direction on the type of funeral and burial/cremation you wished for.
- Having a Will can save a lot of time and money when settling your estate. It’s an extremely emotional time for your family and friends and without a Will they could be looking at a lengthy court processes and huge legal costs.
Ensure you have a valid will
Whether you have a small or large estate Wills are essential but for a Will to be valid you must:
-Make sure the Will is in writing and prepared by a lawyer.
-Ensure its signed and dated by you and in front of two witnesses who also need to sign and date the Will.
-Have testamentary capacity – meaning you are of sound mind and memory and understand what a Will is and the effect it has.
To ensure the Will is valid, you have included everything that you wanted and its safely stored, its best to have a lawyer draw up your Will on your behalf. A lawyer will also help you to understand the role of your executor which will be the person(s) or trustee company you name in the Will who has the power to administer your estate.
Our experienced team at Michael Benjamin & Associates can help you prepare or update your Will with our simple and straight forward process. Make sure your estate is distributed in the way you want it to be. Contact us today here.