For so many old sayings, there's much substance in their meaning. This one is no less so.
It's a fact that in this country, Australia, more than 50,000 people die each year intestate (without making a will). Is that bad? If yes, what are the advantages of making one? What might it cost? Can it be changed if my circumstance do?
These are all valid questions and we'll endeavour to answer them so that you'll be better equipped, if and when you decide to make a will.
Why make a will?
The most important reason is the security you'll feel when you take that step.
Whether your estate is multi-million dollar, large, moderate or small, if you have any assets or a single asset and you die, do you not want to leave those or it to someone you love? Other key benefits of making a Will are:
Secure your children's future If your children are under 18, you can choose to nominate guardians for them in your Will and make arrangements for their maintenance and education
Marriage It isn't commonly known that marriage automatically cancels all previous Wills. So if you have made a will before you married and still want to continue to provide for those beneficiaries or make arrangements to cater for the new circumstances, you must make a new Will
Divorce A Will is revoked if the marriage ends in divorce (some specifics will apply here)
Defacto relationships If you die without a Will your defacto partner might not automatically be entitled to your estate. He or she might stand to lose the assets and treasured mementos that you want them to have
Early distribution of estate A professionally drawn and executed Will greatly assists in the efficient administration of your estate and the early distribution of your assets to the beneficiaries you've named.
Decide who benefits If you die intestate (no Will), your estate is divided according to the law and you will have no say in how your assets are distributed
Choose your executor When you make a Will, you appoint an executor who is responsible for looking after your estate and distributing your assets according to the instructions contained in your Will
Is my life insurance and superannuation included?
An often-asked question. The answer is no. Both fall outside of your will's provisions.
With each, you have the provision of ownership and nomination of beneficiaries. Depending on the circumstances usually the owner of a life insurance policy is the person insured.
With super, you are wise to use a binding nomination, which, unless revoked, sets in concrete the person to whom you want to leave the proceeds.
What about the cost?
First off, let's briefly summarise our opening questions. We've provided details as to why you should make a will and have specified what the advantages are. You'll also see that your will can be changed. It is revoked in the case of marriage, remarriage and n divorce. How much does a Will cost to make?