Putting Off Making A Will? Don’t Wait. Here’s Why.
We are never able to predict when or how our time will come. Of all the things on our lengthy to-do lists, making a will is one of the most important things you can do for your family’s future. Have you been putting off drawing up your will?
If this is something you haven’t managed to do yet, you’re not alone. We at Rouse Lawyers’ Estate Planning department understand that it can be very difficult to think about your own death. It’s even harder to imagine yourself in a situation where you’re unable to make vital decisions for yourself.
Sadly, however, life is uncertain and the consequences of not planning ahead can make things very difficult for your loved ones. They will already be battling to cope with the fact that they have lost you, but the situation will be made far worse for them if you didn’t make a will.
What happens if you die without a will?
We have an article on our practice’s website that describes more fully what happens when you die intestate (without having drawn up a will). Here are a few key points to consider:
• Your loved ones must assume the whole burden of sorting out your affairs and arranging the funeral.
• Your assets will be distributed according to the intestacy rules, which might not be what you wanted.
• It may not be the most tax-efficient way of distributing the assets and could cut down on income flexibility. The beneficiaries will be paid out their shares directly upon your estate being wound up.
• The administrative burden of demonstrating entitlement to various banks, corporations and government institutions will be greater without a will.
The situation will be almost as bad for your loved ones if you don’t die but are left unable to make decisions for yourself if there is nobody with your Power of Attorney who can make them for you.
Can I write my will myself?
Yes, you could – in theory, but it could very easily backfire if you get it wrong. Our Estate Planning department is staffed by professionals with extensive experience who can ensure your will is complete, effective and covers all eventualities. This includes minimising the chances of it being challenged in future and directing assets not normally included in a will.
How much does it cost?
The cost of making a will varies depending on your circumstances, but the team at Rouse Lawyers has a fundamental commitment to providing maximum value.
Your first consultation with us will be free and we will talk with you about your options. This way, you can make an informed choice about the best plan for you going forward. In most cases, we will work on a fixed-fee basis so you will know upfront what we are going to do for you and what the cost will be.
What an experienced Estate Planning lawyer can do for you
• Direct your assets in the most appropriate fashion, taking into consideration your personal and other assets including trust assets, superannuation, joint tenancies and business assets or interests.
• Assist you to appoint an executor to relieve your loved ones of the burden of paperwork, arranging the funeral and investing assets for the beneficiaries until administration of the estate is finalised, managing business interests, determining liabilities and distributing your assets in accordance with your will.
• Help you set up a Power of Attorney so that there is someone who can make health and/or financial decisions for you if you aren’t able to make them for yourself in the event of injury, sickness or even travel.
• We will provide you with a Personal Record Template which you can use to record all the details that your executor and beneficiaries might need to know. This might include the locations of all your assets, contact numbers for your accountant, financial planner, insurance details, family history or even the passwords for your phone or social media accounts to make their lives so much easier.
As I said at the beginning, thinking about your own death or incapacity isn’t a very cheerful thing to do. I can promise you, however, that investing an hour of your time in making a will now will make things so much easier on your loved ones in the long run and it will be a weight off your mind, too.