7 Reasons To Have A Will
by Jacqui Brauman
There is no obligation to make a Will, but having a Will offers many benefits, both financial and personal. It can help take some of the stress and worry off your spouse, children and loved ones in the event that you do die.
Have your say
The primary reason to have a Will is to make sure your hard-earned assets go to whom you want them to go. You will want certain people to benefit for your hard work, and if you donâ€™t have a Will your assets are distributed in accordance with the intestacy rules of your State.
Specify when someone inherits
As well as saying who your assets go to, you can say when those assets are inherited. The main example would be to children. You might not think your children will be responsible enough to receive their inheritance until they are in their mid-twenties, or even into their thirties. So you can specify this. If you donâ€™t have a Will, your children will inherit at the age of eighteen.
You could make other gifts conditional on certain things happening first, or on particular circumstances existing.
Leave people out
If you are a single adult without children, and you die without a Will, your parents will inherit your estate. You might prefer your estate to go to your brothers and sisters, or to a friend, or to your favourite nephew. When you make a Will, you have testamentary freedom to leave your assets to whomever you want. Just be aware that this testamentary freedom is sometimes restricted by State laws that allow people to contest your Will if they are excluded. You should seek legal advice to protect your wishes as best you can.
Choose who has control
The role of the executor in your Will can be crucial, particularly if assets are held in trust, because your executor will generally be the trustee of that trust. They will need to be financially responsible people, and you need someone who is good at managing these affairs. If you donâ€™t select an executor in your Will, then the person who has the best claim against your estate is the person who is entitled to manage your estate – often this is inappropriate. For example, if you are a single parent then your young children will have the best claim on your estate. Whilst they are minors, it is the other parent that is entitled to manage your estate – you may not want your ex spouse to be the trustee for your childrenâ€™s inheritance.
Incur fewer costs
Itâ€™s like many other things in life – you get what you pay for. Prepare a good Will, and the fees are relatively cheap upfront, and will save you in the long run. It can cost thousands more to manage an estate where there is no Will, or where the Will is poorly drafted or invalid.
Do it right once, and save your family legal costs later.
If you have a Will, the time to administer the estate can be dramatically reduced. Although it may still take a few weeks for the estate management to kick in, this is much more preferable to the months it can take if there is no Will, or if there are mistakes with the Will.
Appoint a guardian for your children
If you donâ€™t have a Will, you will not have a valid and binding guardian appointed. If something were to happen to you, you will want to establish who looks after your children. Donâ€™t leave it up to your parents, in-laws and other relatives to decide – you should make the best decision for your children while you can.
If you need advice on preparing a Will or want to organise a time to get your Will done, please contact us.
Contact us to arrange a chat with one of our legal professionals. It doesnâ€™t hurt to ask.
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