3 January 2018
Writing a Will isn’t just a ‘nice to have’. It can arguably be one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family.
Not only can a Will legally protect your spouse, children, and assets, it can also spell out exactly how you would like things handled after you have passed on.
It’s one of the most important documents you could ever sign. So here are our top ten reasons for you to make a Will and start 2018 with some peace of mind.
You decide how your estate will be distributed. A Will is a legally-binding document that lets you determine how you would like your estate to be handled upon your death. If you die without a Will, there is no guarantee that your intended desires will be carried out. Having a Will helps minimise any family feuds about your estate that may arise, and also determines the “who, what, and when” of your complete estate.
You decide who will take care of your minor children. A Will allows you to make an informed decision about who should take care of your minor children. Absent a Will, the court will take it upon itself to choose among family members or a state-appointed guardian. Having a Will allows you to appoint the person you want to raise your children or, better, make sure it is not someone you do not want to raise your children.
To avoid a lengthy probate process. Having a Will, however, speeds up the probate process and informs the court how you’d like your estate divided. Probate courts serve the purpose of “administering your estate”, and when you die without a Will (known as dying “intestate”), the court will decide how to divide estate without your input, which can also cause long, unnecessary delays.
Minimise estate taxes. Another reason to have a Will is because it allows you to minimise your estate taxes. The value of what you give away to family members or charity will reduce the value of your estate when it’s time to pay estate taxes.
You decide who will wind up the affairs of your estate. Executors make sure all your affairs are in order, including paying off bills, canceling your credit cards, and notifying the bank and other business establishments. Because executors play the biggest role in the administration of your estate, you’ll want to be sure to appoint someone who is honest, trustworthy, and organised (which may or may not always be a family member).
You can disinherit individuals who would otherwise stand to inherit. Most people do not realise they can disinherit individuals out of their Will. Yes, you may wish to disinherit individuals who may otherwise inherit your estate if you die without a Will. Because Wills specifically outline how you would like your estate distributed, absent a Will your estate may end up on the wrong hands or in the hands of someone you did not intend (such as an ex-spouse with whom you had a bitter divorce).
Make gifts and donations. The ability to make gifts is a good reason to have a Will because it allows your legacy to live on and reflect your personal values and interests.
If you die without a Will, part or all of your estate could go to someone you did not intend. This could leave your own family loosing out!
A good reason for having a Will is that you can change it at any time while you’re still alive. Life changes, such as births, deaths, and divorce, can create situations where changing your Will are necessary.
Procrastination and the unwillingness to accept death as part of life are common reasons for not having a Will. Sometimes the realisation that Wills are necessary comes too late – such as when an unexpected death or disability occurs. To avoid the added stress on families during an already emotional time, why not make or update your Will and give yourself peace of mind for the future.
Nene Legal offer personal, professional advice and can help you create a legal Will within 40 mins at an affordable cost.
Simon Bonanno, Nene Legal
Blog originally published by Nene Legal.