By Jamie Pouwhare
There is one simple reason why making a Will should be important to you – because you care about your loved ones. Don’t underestimate the importance of making a Will.
Making a Will is so often overlooked, forgotten or just placed in the too hard basket. Remember, your Will is not for you, it is for those you leave behind. This is why the importance of making a Will cannot be highlighted enough. So don’t leave it until it is too late.
If you take the time to make your Will now, then you will be saving your loved ones from a significant amount of stress… and money. Your death will be emotionally difficult enough without the added uncertainty of what will happen to your things.
Wills aren’t just for people who have a lot of money or own property. Your Will is a legal document which allows you to decide who will receive the things you own. Even if you have little money it is still important to have a Will. Your Will allows you to leave sentimental or valuable items to particular people. You may wish to leave your car, or your jewellery to certain people. You may even have sentimental items with strong family ties like old photographs or war medals for example that you want to stay in your family. Having a valid Will is the only way you can ensure that your wishes are respected and followed.
Making a Will now will give you peace of mind. You are taking control of the future and making sure that your affairs are in order. Making a Will allows you to:
- provide for your loved ones;
- appoint Guardians for your children;
- choose someone that you trust to respect your wishes by carrying out the instructions in your Will;
- leave particular items that you care about to the people of your choice;
- leave instructions for things such as funeral arrangements.
Dying without a valid Will in New South Wales means that a standard formula is used to distribute your estate to your relatives regardless of your wishes. The order that will be followed if you die without a valid Will is:
- Brothers and sisters (or nieces or nephews if your siblings die first);
- Aunts and Uncles (or cousins if they die first).
Once an eligible relative is found then the process stops. If an eligible relative from the list cannot be found, then your estate will pass to the State. The importance of making a Will is evident here because you don’t want your estate being passed to the state!
As you can see the formula does not provide for distribution to any friends or charities in any circumstances. The process can also be extremely complicated if you have had multiple spouses, whether de facto or from marriage, or if you have children from more than one relationship.
If you are in a de facto relationship, then making a Will allows you to ensure your partner is provided for. If you are separated, but not yet divorced, then this could allow your spouse to make a claim on your estate until the divorce is finalised if you have left them out. The importance of making a Will in these circumstances cannot be emphasised enough. Seek legal advice now and get started in making your Will.
You work hard all your life to build up your assets so you can leave something to those you love…why leave it to chance?
Our team at Vaarzon-Morel Solicitors understands the importance of having your affairs in order. We all have families of our own that we want to protect. Let us help you to tick this task off your ever-growing to-do list so you can finally take comfort in knowing that your loved ones will be looked after… even when you are gone.