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Think You Don't Need a Will? Think Again!

Date:
By Sarah Young

 

There is one comment that I keep hearing a lot lately: “What do I need a Will for?”.  It is usually followed by a variety of excuses for why a Will isn’t necessary.  Some of our favourites include:  I’m too young to need a will.  I don’t own anything.  What’s the point, it’s only going to be challenged.  I don’t have time to do it.

Unfortunately, until someone cracks the code on immortality, we are all going to die at some point and some of us sooner than others.  Death doesn’t respect the young, so there is no such thing as being too young to start thinking about your will and your estate planning generally.

Think you don’t own anything and don’t have an estate?  What about your super?  For most of us, 9.5% of our salary gets squirrelled away in a superannuation fund that we never see and most of us don’t think about it.  Did you sign a binding death nomination in relation to your superannuation account?  If so, is it still valid?  Maybe your superannuation fund includes a life insurance policy as well.  Suddenly, you could potentially have a rather significant estate without realising it.  Who does it all go to if you don’t have a Will?

Estate planning, which includes your Will, is becoming more complex in today’s society.  There are many different laws that can affect different aspects of your estate.  If you die without a Will (called intestate), there is legislation that dictates what should happen to your estate but this may have unexpected consequences.  For example, you separated from your husband or wife 10 years ago but never divorced and you have 2 kids together.  If you die without a Will, your estate (or a significant portion of it) is likely go to your former partner, despite the separation, and your children may never get any benefit from it.  This outcome could be avoided if you have a Will.

A Will is not necessarily just about your money and your assets, it can also include things such as your wishes for a guardian in relation your children and your funeral wishes.  The death of a loved one is a stressful time, particularly when it happens unexpectedly, and having a Will can help to alleviate some of that stress for the ones you leave behind.  It may sound like your typical movie cliché, but many clients tell us that it gives them peace of mind to have their affairs in order and not have to worry about what needs to be done once they pass away.

Still not convinced that you need a Will?  Well, keep an eye out for other upcoming blogs from us, as we look at some of the issues affecting Wills and Estates. 

At Mason Lawyers, we are here to guide you through all aspects of estate planning and estate administration to make the process as easy as possible, no matter how complex your affairs are.  We are conveniently located throughout the Newcastle region with offices in Newcastle, Mayfield, Belmont, Warners Bay and Maitland.  To start your estate planning, call us today on (02) 4929 4499 to make an appointment with one of our lawyers, or for more information see the Wills & Estate Planning of our site.